Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Prof apologizes for Bush screed at St. Olaf 

Kathy Kersten at the Center for the American Experiment sends word of her article on a fight over academic freedom at St. Olaf. A sociology professor there sent to his intro to sociology students the fake Bush resume (been around since spring, but we Minnesotans are out here where the Internet gets real slow, y'know), with a preface that read:
I send this to you not as your professor but as a loyal dedicated American who wants only the best for his country.
The resume has been debunked months ago, but debunking seldom stops the wildfire created by fervent ideology with a patina of research -- just ask Al Franken.

The professor was approached first by the College Republicans, but he rebuffed them. Only when Kersten and others wrote to him and the administration did he apologize:

I am sorry I sent this e-mail to the class. Even if it caused students to think about their own commitments that differed from my own, I see now that it was not in keeping with the highest goals that I set for myself as a teacher. I am sorry if I offended the students in the class. Given the political climate that now exists in this country, in the future I will stick closer to the sociological texts I have assigned to my students, and keep my private thoughts to myself.
Kersten treats the incident gracefully, but the result is a heightened awareness of diversity of thought at St. Olaf, with a new conservative student paper and a speaker series. It usually takes incidents like this to get things kicked off at a campus; we should thank that professor for the unintended consequences of his impertinence.