Friday Ephemera
Reheated (28)

First We Get the Groupthink

Then we get the hubris

Psychologists Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers, based at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, surveyed a roughly representative sample of academics and scholars in social psychology and found that “In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues.” This finding surprised the researchers. The survey questions “were so blatant that I thought we’d get a much lower rate of agreement,” Mr Inbar said. “Usually you have to be pretty tricky to get people to say they’d discriminate against minorities.”

One question, according to the researchers, “asked whether, in choosing between two equally qualified job candidates for one job opening, they would be inclined to vote for the more liberal candidate (i.e., over the conservative).” More than a third of the respondents said they would discriminate against the conservative candidate. One respondent wrote in that if department members “could figure out who was a conservative, they would be sure not to hire them.” […] Generally speaking, the more liberal the respondent, the more willingness to discriminate and, paradoxically, the higher the assumption that conservatives do not face a hostile climate in the academy.

The incongruity of the term liberal needs no further comment. They’re doing it for the children, obviously.

And speaking of hubris, KC Johnson finds another leftwing academic taking liberties

In the winter 2012 semester, [Professor Shorter] taught a course called “Tribal Worldviews”; the course homepage contained a link called “Boycotting Israel.” The course resources page, meanwhile, featured links to the Goldstone Report, to a site on “US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel,” and (with two different links) to an “Open Letter to Bono Re: Palestinian Rights.” While the Goldstone Report, as vile as it was, at least is an official document, it’s hard to see the course-related relevance of links to an open letter to Bono. And the links to boycott-Israel sites would seem to constitute a clear violation of California regents’ policies that prohibit professors from misusing their courses to engage in “political advocacy.” […] To reiterate: these links appeared on a course webpage for “Tribal Worldviews,” taught by a professor whose academic specialty is a Native American tribe from Arizona.

However, when two dozen current and retired University of California professors enquired as to the propriety of Professor Shorter’s classroom Israel-bashing, they discovered that political activism on the public dime is, for some, perfectly okay. Provided of course it’s activism of a certain political stripe: 

In magisterial terms, the [UCLA Committee on Academic Freedom] proclaimed that “faculty members should be free of such scrutiny and should not have to answer to interest groups outside the university.” UCLA is a public university, supported in part by tax dollars paid by people “outside the university.”

What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yes. Fiefdom. As noted previously, more than once, some academics and administrators don’t seem inclined to follow their own stated rules of classroom probity.

In case you’re interested, Professor Shorter received a PhD in the “history of consciousness,” is the author of We Will Dance Our Truth, and is employed by the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. His faculty page tells us

My undergraduate teaching fields include Native American film and video, myths, rituals, symbols, tribal worldviews, ethnographic fieldwork and perhaps my favourite, Aliens, Psychics, and Ghosts.