University Rot: The Faculty Enablers

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Looking for causes for the rot? Look no further than the faculty employed at our top universities. Today I’ll look at New York University and some vocal faculty members’ response to its disciplinary decisions.  

In Sunday’s  Metropolitan section of The New York Times, the very sympathetic Ginia Bellafante writes about “Protests and Punishment: NYU in an Age of Competing Missions.” She interviews only one student, Ms. Ellis Geary, who was among the several dozen students and faculty members arrested on April 22.  As part of the disciplinary process, the students have to complete a 49-page set of readings and tasks known as the Ethos Integrity Series to help them better understand ethical decision-making and then write a paper. GASP! How draconian! How Unfair! At least this has been the reaction of many NYU faculty.

Bellafante decries this as seemingly from a “dystopian sci-fi series”.  One professor at the law school called it “an intellectual embarrassment.”  Ms Bellafante appears to absolve anyone protesting for Palestine saying, “anyone driven to protest is marching and chanting precisely as an expression of a certain set of fiercely held moral beliefs and values.” But what if her deeply held belief was based on nothing more than a bunch of Tik Tok disinformation? What if Geary’s deeply held belief was that “From the River to the Sea” meant not having to look at a map? What if a  student with a PhD from NYU couldn’t clearly define the following: genocide, apartheid, colonialism? 

Ms Geary proudly states, “I’m not going to apologize for opposing genocide.” Isn’t she noble? Geary is either deliberately misusing the word “genocide” as part of her “fiercely held” moral beliefs or doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Either one should disqualify her from earning a doctorate in history, let alone from a highly regarded school.  Oh, but she’s already gotten her degree. 

Geary and her pack of protestors could very well benefit from a deep dive into Ethics.  As for the faculty who claim that the college is engaging in an approach that is “infantilizing”, what would they call dressing up in Arab terrorist garb and yelling “Free Palestine” and refusing to engage in dialogue? With these types of enablers on staff it is no wonder these students feel so entitled and unconcerned with the pain they are inflicting on other students, who no doubt do understand the definitions of those words they continuously spout with zero understanding. 

 I hope NYU doesn’t back down from making these students do some real learning. Too bad that for some, like Ms Geary, who has already completed her studies, it is already too late. 

About the Author
Gina Friedlander is obsessed with all things Israeli. She served as editor of several trade magazines in the health and supplement industries before switching careers and becoming a high school English teacher and tutor of English and SAT prep. Currently she spends her time visiting Israel, writing, playing tennis, doing Israeli folk dancing, and trying to stay positive.
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