May 13, 2006

College Professor Quits Over Condi Rice

Steve Almond has quit his job as an adjunct professor English at Boston College for a fairly bizarre reason. Evidently, Condi Rice is giving the commencement address:

He chose to quit by "open letter" in the Boston Globe:

An open letter to William P. Leahy, SJ, president of Boston College.
DEAR Father Leahy,

I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so -- after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret -- as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice's actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.

But I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar...

...I cannot, in good conscience, exhort my students to pursue truth and knowledge, then collect a paycheck from an institution that displays such flagrant disregard for both.

I would like to apologize to my students and prospective students. I would also urge them to investigate the words and actions of Rice, and to exercise their own First Amendment rights at her speech.

My first reaction? This guy must be independently wealthy. Who else would quit a job over such little provocation.
Why not have her speak? This woman, whether or not you agree with her political views, is incredibly intelligent and has accomplished much in a very short time. I personally find her fascinating.
My favorite part? His exortation to his students to "exercise their own First Amendment rights at [Condi Rice's] speech". In other words, the students should shout her down and be disrespectful while she speaks. What about Condi Rice's right to freedom of speech? What about those who would like to hear her speak? What ever happened to college being a "marketplace of ideas"?
What is he teaching his former students? He is teaching them to not respect the viewpoints of others. He is teaching them that the only views that matter are those that you agree with. College sure has changed.
One of the most often touted rationales for college's use of affirmative action is "diversity" of viewpoints and experiences. Yet, it appears that if you are a Republican, you deserve not to be heard...
You know, it wasn't too long ago that the idea of an African-American Secretary of State was unthinkable. It wasn't too long ago that the idea of an African-American commencement speaker was unimaginable. We, as a country, should be proud that our society has become more integrated and racism - while it still exists - has diminished greatly.
The funny thing is that, if Condi Rice was a Democrat and some idiot professor decided to quit because she was going to give an address at Boston College, the NAACP, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney and others with so much invested in race-baiting would have tripped over eachother to be the first to proclaim that this professor was nothing more than a racist. I doubt we will hear a word from them.
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