The Outstater

December 16, 2023

A Crossroads for IU

INDIANA UNIVERSITY will miss the turn. Indeed, Eric Holcomb and his appointed trustees won’t even see it — the turn away from being a hedge fund with a university attached and back toward being a learning and research institution. And if body language is indicative, IU will be one of the last to abandon the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) insanity that cheapens degrees and faculty standing.

Too bad, the students and alumni deserve better.

Indiana’s best students, the ones who can command scholarships, have reason to head 690 miles to the east where the University of Pennsylvania is showing how it’s done. Pressure from alumni there, disgusted by the congressional testimony of their president regarding campus anti-Semitism, got her booted from office.

IU had similar protests and its president botched her response similarly. Crickets.

Penn, in contrast, has drafted a new charter that says the university would abstain from adopting any institutional position on political issues. At the same time, it would ensure that individuals on campus are free to propose, test and reject “the widest spectrum of perspective.”

Most important to this discussion is the new charter’s insistence that Penn’s selection committees have one mission: to identify excellence — period — regardless of other factors including the melanin count of the applicants. 

“The new constitution posits that an unambiguous, publicly understood commitment to excellence will give Penn a competitive edge in hiring and student admissions in the decade ahead,” says Heather Mac Donald, an attorney and commentator on higher education. “This seems commonsensical; testing such a hypothesis is long overdue.”

But she rightly sees a trap. Donors who think a commitment to anti-Semitism training is a sign the problem is being solved will be wrong. More from Mac Donald:

“The problem is much deeper than anti-Semitism. And the college administrators are outfoxing the rebel alumni by adopting the rebels’ definition of the issue. The problem is an entire anti-Western ethos that now dominates most of the humanities and social sciences and that in STEM is corroding excellence and meritocracy. Jews are today seen as the embodiment of that reviled Western civilization, rather than, as in the past, a threat to it.”

Things will continue, then, much as in recent years, which brings with it a dire warning. 

If IU alumni don’t follow Penn’s lead, we will find ourselves in this situation:  Science, technology, engineering and mathematics will become irrelevant. And what will matter, even after five decades of civil rights law, will not be the content of your character but the color of your skin.

Those with darker skin, regardless of race, religion, nationality or status, will judge those with lighter skin as to their complicity in assumed oppression and colonization, their envy and resentment requiring the extraction of damages. There might be a social-justice score.

Those with lighter skin will be constantly calculating their risk from those with darker skin — subtle risks such as grandchildren being rejected by the best colleges or for the best jobs or for the most advantageous loans. But also corporal risks from an increase in predatory crime.

So, as socialism has lost its power to drive calamity, race consciousness steps in. The Devil couldn’t have come up with a better plan. — tcl


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