The appointment of Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution is drawing fierce protests from faculty members and students at Stanford University and is threatening to rekindle tensions between the institution, a conservative research body, and the more liberal campus.
Some 2,100 professors, staff members, students and alumni have signed an online petition protesting Mr. Rumsfeld's appointment, which will involve advising a task force on ideology and terrorism. Faculty members say he should not have been offered the post because of his role in the Bush administration’s prosecution of the Iraq war.
"We view the appointment as fundamentally incompatible with the ethical values of truthfulness, tolerance, disinterested enquiry, respect for national and international laws and care for the opinions, property and lives of others to which Stanford is inalienably committed," the petition reads.
Philip G. Zimbardo, emeritus professor of psychology, explained his objection to Mr. Rumsfeld's appointment as he rushed across campus to teach a class. "It is unacceptable to have someone who represents the values that Rumsfeld has portrayed, in an academic setting," Dr. Zimbardo said.
Res ipsa loquitur.
UPDATE: Oh, and did you know that Stanford has a "mainstream" which all appointments, even of visiting fellows, must be part of? "Pamela M. Lee, a professor of art history who helped write the petition against Mr. Rumsfeld, said she hoped her protest would send a message and prompt the university to review its relationship with the Hoover Institution.
'It's extremely important for the Hoover to know that their appointments are not in the mainstream of the Stanford community,' Professor Lee said,'as well as to send a very clear signal to the country that this is not what Stanford is about.'" So, according to Professor Lee, enforcing ideological conformity among the faculty is "what Stanford is all about." Having one of the most distinguished public
servants [yuck, did I write that?] officials of the last half century--an objectively true statement, regardless of what one things of his politics--on campus three to five times (!) is not "what Stanford is all about."
And, come to think of it, I can't resist the contrast between the reaction to Rumsfeld at Stanford and, judging from the stories in the Columbia Spectator, the almost complete quiescence, apart from some Jewish groups, at Columbia regarding the invitation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In fact, according to the Spectator, some of the harshest criticism received by Columbia president Lee Bollinger is that he didn't criticize Minutemen Project found Jim Gilchrist, invited by students last years, as he has Ahmadinejad.
Some commenters suggest that Zimbardo is just a social scientist concerned about Abu Ghraib. Not exactly. He told the San Jose Mercury News, with regard to Hoover: "They can have any fascist they want there, and they do... We've never protested before but this seems to be egregious." Ah, the voice of reason. I guess, say, George Schultz is just "any fascist," but Rumsfeld is an egregious one.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Another Example of Academic Open-Mindedness in California:
- My L.A. Times op-ed on Chermersinsky, Summers, and the State of Academic Freedom on Campus: