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The “guts to stand up and say it” on campus

The “guts to stand up and say it” on campus

Scott Johnson at Power Line writes about the devastating report on Bowdoin College and the college President’s smug response to a professor who wrote to the President about the issues.

Here’s the letter the professor published in the Bowdoin student newspaper:

To the Editor,

I write to tell you about my communication with President Mills regarding the NAS study.

I sent the following letter to President Mills the morning after Monday’s faculty meeting. He was kind enough to call me upon receiving it. During our phone conversation I voiced my agreement with parts of the piecemeal reports that the NAS has already released; with the gist of Thomas Klingenstein’s arguments in his Claremont Review of Books essay and in the Bowdoin Orient; and with Mills’s own argument, in his September 2010 convocation address, which I excerpted in the letter.

I asked President Mills to look to the final NAS report when it is released and point out in public those parts that echo what he said in his convocation address. I hoped that his doing so would cause people who would otherwise dismiss the central message of his address—which I understand to be more concordant with the thrust of the NAS than he does—to take it seriously.  He said that I should rather “have the guts to stand up and say it.” Herewith.

Sincerely, Assistant Professor of Economics Stephen Meardon

Monday April 1, 2013

Dear President Mills,

I was sorry to hear my colleagues chuckle at the mere mention of the NAS study at today’s faculty meeting. I am sorrier to say that, to my ear, you encouraged them.

I was present at your convocation address in September 2010 and admired your aim. “We must guard against political correctness and a culture where everyone…is supposed to feel ‘comfortable’,” you said, and rightly.

The chuckles were the sound of people resting comfortably with the conviction that the ideas in the study, probably a good deal different from those that dominate around here, need not be seriously entertained. It’s a different sound entirely from your admirable convocation address.

With highest regard, Steve Meardon

I don’t know Professor Meardon’s politics.  But it took guts to question — even privately and professionally — the skewed intellectual composition of the campus.  It took even more guts to respond to the President’s taunt by going public.

See my prior post, “Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus”.


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It certainly did take guts. Did you notice that the Bowdoin President did the same thing that the head of the California University system did when CAS wrote its scathing report on its practices. Insist that the accreditation process serves sufficiently as a watchdog. Instead as we now know the accreditors actually serve as the primary drivers in continually pushing both higher ed and K-12 school districts into taking ever more aggressive political stances that the purpose of education is to radically remake the worldviews of the students. Enough so that their beliefs prompt their conscience to take action for future transformation. is an explanation on how the accreditors are an explicit and intrinsic part of UNESCO’s political vision that it can use K-12 and higher ed to drive a cultural evolution. To a collectivist orientation centered on Equality, the dominance of the State in the Economy, Sustainability, and Diversity. In fact UNESCO calls the international process the Bologna Process and it has a very controversial component called the Social Dimensions that essentially prevents traditional transmission of knowledge as being inequitable.

I read Bowdoin’s letter as in your face, you cannot stop us. Cheer Up, Professor on Hamilton you clearly got a first rate education and know what these students are being deprived of. My alma mater is radicalized now too and none of the alums seem to be aware. They just know how high it ranks in US News surveys.

Probably in large part now from ts willingness to radicalize students. At great expense.

More please, louder.

radiofreeca | April 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm

First, if I’m ever in the area, I’m gonna buy Professor Meardon a dinner!

Second, the good news about places like Bowdoin only teaching how to follow and not to think or lead, is that it empties the field so people who have been taught to think and lead (Conservatives) have a better chance to succeed.

Now – I wish that some financially well off Conservatives would start doing things like funding startups by Conservatives, or research by Conservatives, especially in the media and technology areas: we need money, and influence. The Republican party, whether you agree with their policies or not, have not been very efficient at winning elections or influencing people for the money spent.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I used to think that there are too many colleges but now I consider them to be a most brilliant forward community planning.

With their halls of residences , nice grounds with manicured level pathways they can seamlessly evolve into geriatric facilities. Extreme cases of delusion , arguing over long lost arguments lost & forgotten memories are nothing new.

They already cater for the transgendered & gay & have sex workshops . What more is needed.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

What is even better is that people can look forward to going back to uni. In later life – especially their own & in many cases never even leave .

Here is my problem: there is no doubt that our universities are moving more and more to the left, and in some cases have even become dens of Socialism. And there are not enough professors in those universities willing to speak out.

But what are parent’s supposed to do? When, like many parents I know, send their kids off to a university like Texas A & M thinking they are going to put their young adults into a conservative setting, only to find out it is just as progressive (new liberal) as any other left wing school, what options do those parents have?

Maybe Legal Insurrection/College Insurrection should create a list of truely conservative schools where their money will not be funding Gay Studies, Nigerian Women’s Basket Weaving, absurd Women’s Studies departments?

There has to be a way to let American parents know what schools are not going to simply indoctrinate their kids into the Socialist world view instead of educating them.

    Paul in reply to retire05. | April 8, 2013 at 12:20 am

    You might wish to consider Hillsdale college, and as for lists, you can always cross reference lists on bing (or google or startpage) to see which ones show up the most of “Conservative leaning colleges”

Good for Professor Meardon! Hopefully he is not pilloried for doing as his institution’s president suggested now. It will be interesting to follow Professor Meardon’s career in the next few weeks to see if there is any backlash to his public comments.

I ventured over to the Bowdoin paper article and waded into the comments.
If the mindset, quality and content of the comments, defending Bowdoin, is indicative of the student body of Bowdoin then it definitely shows what kind of echo chamber the school has become and proves the NAS report’s claims.

If I were a student with more than two brain cells to rub together I would be demanding my tuition money back and transfer to another college.

Another Bowdoin professor, Jean Yarbrough, responded to Thomas Klingenstein’s critical writings back in 2011.

April 22, 2011

This fall will mark my 23rd year of teaching political philosophy and American political thought at Bowdoin. I dearly love this college and want to do everything that I can to see Bowdoin be the best that it can be.

But love requires honesty, and Thomas Klingenstein’s essay provides us with the opportunity to examine one area where we are notably deficient: intellectual and political diversity.

In his essay, Mr. Klingenstein estimates that the actual number of conservative/Republican faculty is 4 percent. I do not know how he arrived at that number, but using figures from the Bowdoin College profile at the website CollegeData, there are 177 faculty engaged in the full-time teaching of undergraduates, 4 percent of which would equal seven. I have not made a scientific study of this, but that number, small as it is, strikes me as too high.

From her writing (read the whole letter), if she was ever conservative, she has lost it, but at least she thinks something needs to be done. When she realizes that diversity recruiting is racist, in and of itself, perhaps she will break free of her own brainwashing.