Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Kirkland Project at Hamilton College

I am a little embarrassed that Hamilton College is located in a town named Clinton, even if it is Clinton, NY, and I live in Clinton, Ontario.

From The New Criterion, courtesy of BenS:

...we’ve reported before in this space on little Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. It has really outdone itself lately. In December, the college cleverly timed the announcement of their new capital campaign to coincide with an invitation to Susan Rosenberg, late of the Weather Underground, to teach a month-long seminar as an “artist/activist-in-residence.”

...Hamilton tried to brazen it out: “Free speech!” “Diversity!” “Women writers!”—the administration tried out all the usual mantras. Nevertheless, donations to the college dried up and Rosenberg “withdrew.”

The Rosenberg wheeze came to the world courtesy of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society, and Culture, an outfit at Hamilton which is exactly what its name implies, a left-wing catchment where aging ’60s radicals pool to ferment and celebrate themselves. A list of the Kirkland Project’s activities reads like a parody of wacko academic radicalism (check out their programming online [Note from EclEco: this is the link]).

... Kirkland’s next trick was to invite Ward Churchill to campus. You remember Ward Churchill: he’s the make-believe Injun and tenured prof from the University of Colorado who thinks that the victims of Islamofascist terrorism are like Nazi bureaucrats.

... What to do? How about a faculty committee to “study” the problem? Hamilton duly convened such a beast and, lo, it has spoken. In its final report, dated April 26, the Kirkland Project Review Committee gives us—a total whitewash.

... To those who believe that the Kirkland Project is a tendentious, politically motivated institution that has no place at a liberal arts institution, the Committee responds that “We believe that it would be dangerously inappropriate for a liberal arts college to restrict the kinds of points of view expressible in the missions of established or broadly supported campus organizations.” Of course, the committee really believes no such thing. Hamilton College in general, and the Kirkland Project in particular, restricts all sorts of “points of view,” as anyone who asks “What conservative speakers/ programs/initiatives has the Kirkland Project sponsored?” will discover. The short answer to that question is None.

... Academic committee reports are not famous for their humor. But this one does contain an inadvertently droll moment. It comes at the very end. In matters of substance, the report concludes, Kirkland should remain very much what it has been. But because of “considerable disagreement” about its mission, the committee recommends that—can you guess? That the Kirkland Project be disbanded and its assets distributed to a new organization for the study of the American Founders? Not quite. The one concrete recommendation the committee makes is that the Kirkland Project —change its name.

It is little wonder that so many Hamilton College Alumni are trying to change the make-up of the college's Board of Directors. [be sure to check out the comment to that link, too!]

Until these events, Hamilton College had always held a special place in my heart as the setting for The Sterile Cuckoo, an entrancing and insightful 1969 film.
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