Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tenure is a contract that can be broken 

If I ever became a university president, and I had this guy working for me, I'd just find out how much money he wants to go away, and pay it.
Kevin Barrett, the University of Wisconsin at Madison instructor who came under fire this past summer for his 9/11 conspiracy theories, is back in the spotlight. This week, a local television station, WKOW, reported that a textbook required for a course Mr. Barrett is teaching this fall includes an essay by him that compares President Bush to Adolf Hitler.
What are the requirements for calling something a "textbook", by the way?

Seriously. Let's suppose it costs a million dollars to send Barrett off to some private school that can sell him as some kind of academic exhibit, like the bearded lady in the side show at the circus. (Not to worry -- the private school is entitled to use whomever they like, and besides which, he might turn his students more conservative.) Half of this is paid by the state of Wisconsin, the other half by students in higher tuition, which for a campus that size is under $20 a head. (I'd charge the faculty who hired him a healthy fee too, but I'm not their president.) You're telling me this isn't Pareto-optimal?

UPDATE: My God, he's an adjunct? As the price of decency falls, you'd expect the University of Wisconsin to purchase more.