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At last, a man in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado-Boulder speaks out

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) March 4, 2014: As everybody knows, the greatest malefactors in Western culture historically were white men. White men in Western culture often conspired to establish empires through military might. White men in Western culture also helped enslave African Americans and helped run the slave trade. As everybody knows, white men in Western culture also conspired together with one another in the vast conspiracy known in feminist circles as patriarchy. Indeed, are there any societal evils in Western culture today that white men in the past did not contribute to?

So in the court of public opinion in the United States today, white men who have been accused of violating the standards of political correctness in academia are presumed to be guilty until proven innocent -- especially if their accusers are women.

I know, I know, this presumption is contrary to the traditional American legal standard that the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. But this legal standard can be called into question because it was formulated by white men.

But, hey, we're talking about the court of public opinion, not a court of law.

So if you want to be a liberal and progressive in good standing in the academic culture of political correctness today, you should hop on board whatever the latest bandwagon is of demonizing white men. Otherwise, you will risk being considered a conservative Republican, because everybody knows that conservative Republicans are up to no good.

In the sensationalistic Site Visit Report about the philosophy department at the University of Colorado-Boulder that the university administration unexpectedly made public on January 31, 2014, the three women site-visitation team from the American Philosophical Association (APA) painted a sensationalistic picture of the men in the philosophy department.

Roughly, their sensationalistic characterizations can be classified in two broad categories: (1) alleged lechery and (2) alleged incivility and "bullying" (their word).

Rebecca Schuman of Slate Magazine online bought everything in the sensationalistic Site Visit Report and amplified some points in her article "Bro Culture . . . in the Philosophy Department?" (dated Feb. 3, 2014). She jumped on the bandwagon.

In response to the sensationalistic Site Visit Report, Denver Post columnist Alicia Caldwell sensibly opined "What exactly went on in CU philosophy department?" (dated Feb. 3, 2014). She was understandably frustrated by the vagueness of the Site Visit Report.

AT LAST -- A MAN IN THE PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT SPEAKS OUT

At last, one white man in the philosophy department, Michael Tooley, has broken the department's silence by posting relevant materials at http://spot.colorado.edu/~tooley/ , including his own lengthy statement in the document titled "Why Hasn't the Philosophy Department Strongly Criticized the Site Visit Report?"

Professor Tooley explains that "the [Site Visit] Report has caused, and will continue to cause, very significant harm, damaging the reputations of innocent people, and inflicting suffering upon their families."

He says, "The public release of the Site Visit Report has also had a devastating effect upon our current graduate students and also on our recent Ph.D. graduates who are currently on the job market, both male and female."

He believes, correctly in my estimate, that the Site Visit Report is in effect an indictment of male philosophy professors in general, not just in Colorado. Rebecca Schuman advanced this sweeping indictment in her article.

Because Rebecca Schuman and Alicia Caldwell and everybody else in the media repeated the Site Visit Report's claim that "at least 15 complaints" had been filed against members of the philosophy department since 2007 with the Office of Discrimination and Harassment, I want to quote Professor Tooley's measured comment about this factoid:

"Conversations that I have had, however, with people who have access to the relevant information all confirm the view that only one member of the tenured[d]/tenure-track faculty in the philosophy department has been found guilty of sexual harassment during that time period, and that person was vigorously punished."

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www.d.umn.edu/~tfarrell

Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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