Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Happens everywhere, apparently.

See here. Personally, I think it happens when (1) some folks don't have enough to do, and (2) senior members of the community don't tell the mean folks to back off.


Legally UnBound said...

I understand quick blogs. I agree that people should embrace respect, more and more, instead of the current trend, less and less. But I'm curious about your 2-points "(1) some folks don't have enough to do, and (2) senior members of the community don't tell the mean folks to back off." You left me confused.
If it is just that you wanted to make a quick statement, I get it. However, this guy is in a position where he subjects himself to public scrutiny. Why should less time on one's hands and advice from the elders stop people being "mean" and why should they stop.
Frankly, I don't know the man. He's probably a great guy. But, shouldn't more patience be given to those not in control and less patience be given to those with the control? I'm interested in why you posted this and what you really think? Was it because he was "on your team?" Would you be so tender to people you don't know, but that acted the same?

Nancy Rapoport said...

I've found that groups of people who have a lot of power (e.g., life tenure) w/o any concomitant responsibility (e.g., no consequences) tend to indulge their passions a bit more than those who might face actual consequences for their actions.

I don't know this dean at all, nor do I know the faculty. But I've seen mob rule happen too many times not to feel some sympathy for this dean. Ask Larry Summers or Jane Fernandes how they feel about "powerless" faculty members.

And I have a lot more power now as a tenured faculty member than I ever did as a dean--mostly because I have free speech rights again.

Thanks for writing!

Legally UnBound said...

I agree with what you are saying about "mob rule" and "those in power". However, opinions of the masses don't necessarily equal "mob rule". My problem with much of the established "power", if you will allow me to be so vague and general, is that when this power and achievement is the center of the individual that has attained it, those they serve pay the price. Whether elected officials, appointed/elected judges, school officials (tenured or not), they seem to more often than not believe in their own opinions as being right, discounting others at whatever cost. Most times it appears the attack degenerates to personal or is cloaked in some sophisticated version of the same (e.g. attacks on intellect, quality of argument, spelling).

I'm not sure respect is the problem here, or being "mean". I think the problem is being informed. Most of the "mob rule" problem often seems to come from responses to misinformation. The uninformed "mob" relies upon a leader or informer that is wrong or misinformed and that seems the most dangerous of all. As well, tenured professors CAN be, not will be, but CAN be, some of the most dangerous.

In principal I agree with you, mostly with your "free speech" rights. Unfortunately the realities of teaching is generally a political animal, which really flies in the face of what a professor should be thinking, challenging ideas, exploration of thought. But, oh well, realities vs. theories. This is a constant pursuit.

Thanks for responding so quickly, sorry for my delay. The US Supreme Court decision and the Nevada Legislature have got me all in a tizzy.

Talk Soon...