Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mine has already been run 

Candace de Russy thinks the state of Missouri's idea to run background checks on state university professors is a good idea and should extend to all states. An emailed response to her makes the point even clearer:
�it seems that the professors want to institutionalize a utopian socialist system where one is free to do anything one wants and not be bothered by "bourgeois ethics." To carry the idea that "all morality is relative and therefore meaningless" to its logical conclusion, one has to live in a world where you are not fingerprinted in order to become a professor/instructor.
The idea that we assess student outcomes, for example, still strikes some faculty as being an intrusion on academic freedom. The idea that if you fabricate sources for your research you might be fired from your post leads to people signing petitions decrying the process -- not the findings of fraud -- are usually couched in terms of faculty having a different set of standards. What good is an ivory tower, some must wonder, if not to keep out these forces of darkness that try to impose business standards like 'transparency' or 'accountability'?

Full disclosure: Since I work as a subcontractor on federal contracts, my background has been quite thoroughly checked. What they didn't find, the social worker writing our file for adoption would have. Most of us have lives outside the tower.