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HCAGR under new management

We’re flipping the keys to the next generation

More later, but first a stroll down memory lane, a review of our very first posting of an email of 2/5/05 at 2:25PM. It marked the beginning of … well, whatever it was. Excerpted below:

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Let’s look at the governance and stewardship of Hamilton’s good name over the last few years:

· In 2001 visiting professor, Brigitte Boisselier, was allegedly forced to quit after it was revealed that she was a member of the Raelian cult, which evidently believes, among other things, that the human race is the result of cloning of aliens.

· In 2002 Eugene Tobin resigned in disgrace after he allegedly admitted to plagiarism.  His severance package didn’t get much publicity but maybe it should have: “This year’s (2002-2003) salary list topper, Eugene M. Tobin from Hamilton College in New York, earned $1.2 million for the 2002-2003 fiscal year, with $315,000 in salary, $827,354 in benefits and $21,059 in expenses, making him the only $1 million-plus president.” I may not have the full facts here but I suspect serial plagiarism by a student would be otherwise rewarded.

· In 2004 we have the Susan Rosenberg affair (SR indicted as an accessory to murder in 1981 and convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment having been caught unloading a cache of weapons—including 740 pounds of explosives—at a storage facility in Cherry Hill, N.J., in November 1984 - WSJ Dec 3 04).

·     And now Hamilton, via the Kirkland Project, contracted to pay honoraria, evidently recently waived, to Ward Churchill who lauds ‘the “gallant sacrifices” of the “combat teams” that struck the Pentagon and World Trade Center, asserting that the people who worked there (“little Eichmanns…braying … into their cell phones”) and died that day deserved what they got.’ (WSJ below).

The broader issue is serial failure of administration and governance. Fundamental insults to the ethical fabric and reputational foundation of the institution are matters of fiduciary responsibility of the Trustees. They have been, it would seem, ineffective in safeguarding the institution.

I suggest it is time to demand significant changes in governance of the school to include in all likelihood significant changes to the composition of the Trustees and possibly Administration and faculty.  The cumulative insults to the credibility and ethical fabric of the institution will threaten its viability: its time for some changes.

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Opinions may vary on both the virtue and success of the initiative. We do now have the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) and a host of top quality traditional scholarly programming from it. We do have Enquiry, a wonderful publication of the Alexander Hamilton Institute Undergraduate Fellows. More importantly we have a remarkable group of students who have participated in the programs of the AHI and have a significant fondness for it. By that measure, I think a success.

Now that the inanity of recent events at Yale, University of Missouri and Hamilton have brought the fruits of radical progressive pedagogy to the national attention, which is to say now that the phenomena has become a national embarrassment, we see some trustees backing away from it. Hamilton seems to have lost some of its leadership, though not whole hog participation, in such abject stupidity.

Consider the new found wisdom of Mr. Barry Seaman as quoted in Hamilton’s very own alumni news. Seaman said he is “disturbed that people stole copies of a conservative-leaning newspaper on campus” and that “people say they feel unsafe because an idea is disagreeable.” He argues that this way of thinking is not conducive to developing a useful and productive mind.  In contrast, part of the liberal arts education should be to “get uncomfortable” and to “grapple with ideas that challenge your point of view.”  The largest problem in this single-minded perspective, Seaman argues, is that “if no one challenges assertions—if skeptics are not welcome—dogma sets in stone.”

Seaman is shocked, shocked, we say, to discover what has happened on campus, the politicization of the classroom and balkanization of culture & academic life at Hamilton. Of course, as Trustee he presided over the creation of the problem he now decries. Do tell why is the AHI off campus? And the astute would note that to this day Hamilton College will not provide proper attribution to the AHI for the programs it sponsors for the students of Hamilton. And that leads us to the governance issues. 

Of course, perhaps it is unfair to single him out, but timing is everything, particularly for one who monitors and rides on the surf of popular opinion. As Marilyn Monroe noted in Some Like It Hot, “It’s different for girls.”

Back to the website

As to HCAGR, we purposely let the site go dormant to drive the traffic to the AHI, and it has been dormant for some time. Some responsible, tech savvy and younger alumni, some of whom are former AHI Student Fellows, have expressed an interest in taking over the site. They will no doubt bring more energy, wit, wisdom and information as to the issues at hand. Their identities are theirs, not mine, to disclose.

So effective with this publication, new ownership & management of HCAGR is in place. Terms of the transaction are confidential, but it will be very good scotch, I assure.  I may contribute from time to time, but it is their show now to do with as they will. 

hb

 

 

Posted on December 2, 2015 at 10:53AM by Registered Commenterhb | CommentsPost a Comment

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