Private corporations and foundations can do whatever they want but one would think that the bigger ones would do a bit more research before endowing politically correct administrators with their prestige. For example, the Carnegie Corporation decided to honor Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, who was also recognized by the CC in 2008.
“A spokesman for public higher education and for maintaining affordability, particularly for those of limited means, he introduced initiatives focusing on global poverty, climate change and multiculturalism while building strong links with UC Berkeley’s surrounding community,” the Carnegie Reporter claimed. “Chancellor Birgeneau has advocated on behalf of financial aid for undocumented high school graduates and for students from challenging backgrounds and has launched a charter school to develop model curricula for college readiness.” Well, that is one side of the story.
Birgeneau may have been at his worst in the immediate wake of the shooting of former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. “As the days passed after the Tucson massacre, the evidence began to show that Jarred Loughner [the sniper] was mentally ill and had political beliefs that didn’t fit anyone’s preconceptions,” Greg Lukianoff writes in Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorhip and the End of American Debate. “Some of those who had been so quick to blame the shooting on Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin started to back off.”
“The truth, however, did nothing to stop the chancellor of UC Berkeley, Robert J. Birgeneau, from blaming the tragedy on ‘xenophobia’ and the climate of ‘hateful speech’ in our nation.”
“As key evidence of this climate, he [Birgeneau] cited the failure of the ‘DREAM Act,’ a bill that would have opened up citizenship for illegal aliens who were enrolled in college or had served in the military and lived in the United States since the age of sixteen,” Lukianoff explains. “While I also support the DREAM Act, there is no indication of even the slightest connection between the shooting and the failure of that legislation.”
“Chancellor Birgeneau used his position as a respected educator to transform a tragedy perpetrated by a madman into an excuse to vilify those who disagreed with him, rather than using it as an opportunity to have meaningful discussions about a relevant topic, like our failure to effectively identify and care for the mentally ill.”
“What was even more worrisome was how many students and politicians agreed with the chancellor.” Lukianoff is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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