Category Archives: administrators

October 26, 2014, 7:47 am

Academic Life Made Simple: Five Things to Think About


Thinking about behavior and attitudes that are taken for granted in the academy can be useful.

These are not the only five things, but here goes:

When discussing a problem at your university with colleagues, think twice before laying wholesale blame on “the administration.” You might ask: when there are so many administrators to blame for so many things, why not? Here’s why: other than alienating lots of decent, hard-working administrators who actually make our work lives possible, even poorly functioning universities are not made up of opposing teams scoring points on each other. Some administrators will publicly support policies they disagree with, and oppose privately, because that is the expectation in a hierarchical organization. In addition, blaming a faceless “other” actually impedes what needs to…

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July 13, 2014, 3:49 pm

Inside the Red Zone: The College Rape Season

backtoschoolIt seems that we are once again talking about rape in the United States. For the first time since the 1970s, when radical feminist Susan Brownmiller published her blockbuster Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (1975), public discussions about rape are moving to calls for action. I doubt that we will see the comprehensive attention to all forms of sexual violence, everywhere, that we saw forty years ago. We are, for example, seeing precious little analysis that links actually occurring sexual violence (as opposed to conservative pundit Christina Hoff Summers’ assertion that sexual assault is a problem manufactured by feminists) to larger forms of institutional violence, discrimination and exploitation.

Nevertheless, where there is talk, there is hope. In 2013, private colleges and universities were put on notice that tolerating dangerous student behavior has consequences when…

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July 7, 2014, 10:45 am

We Will Bring Everyone: Abolishing “The Box” and Administrative Violence at New York University

checkboxA few weeks ago, we at Tenured Radical were approached by The Incarceration to Education Coalition, a collective that seeks out, analyzes and strives to remove barriers to higher education. Recently, the group has been in discussions with New York University about “The Box,” a check off on the NYU application, and on The Common Application (a service intended to make higher education more accessible), that asks potential applicants to indicate whether they have ever been convicted of a crime.* This guest post has been written by the Collective.

“Don’t come to my games. Don’t bring Black people and don’t come”
Donald Sterling, Former NBA owner

African American males do not want to go to college. “It isn’t in the culture.”
Vice President of Enrollment Management, New York University

What The Incarceration to Education Coalition (IEC) calls “The Box” is a question…

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April 20, 2014, 10:48 pm

Mean Presidents, And Other Campus News


Your cub reporter

Last week I was reviewing books about blogging for a course I am teaching in the fall. Advice from professional bloggers who actually make money doing this is to post every day. So I did, but curiously, although there were plenty of readers, there were few comments. What’s with you guys? Grading or something? Even sexual mayhem at Dartmouth didn’t rile anyone up! That surprised me, I’ve got to say. There are usually squads of people out there ready to defend the poor lads who are being “falsely accused” and tell me I am a puritan; or alternatively, accuse me of patronizing women. I was reproved for patronizing librarians, who want money and not kisses.

I can understand that. But all I have is kisses. And news:

Here’s the Colby College Library — but where are the books? In storage, that’s

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April 1, 2014, 8:53 am

Not An April Fool’s Joke: Massive Cuts at USM

les-miserables-poster001In my previous post, I made a reference to massive cuts at the University of Southern Maine. The cuts have sparked student and faculty protests, and an administrative response that is truly scary, both in its willingness to accept scarcity logic as the educational status quo and its desire to impose faculty and staff reductions by intimidation. This includes cutting entire departments to break faculty tenure.

A strong dissent from the New England American Studies Association can be found here. (Where is a statement from the other American Studies Association?)

I have also received permission from Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies Lucinda Cole to reprint her account of the state of things. Some of you may have already seen it on Facebook.

To the ‪#‎USMfuture‬ Student Who Asked Me That Question

At the last three faculty meetings I attended at the…

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October 9, 2013, 9:23 am

Talking Policy During the Shutdown: Obama Education Plan Part II

obama-nd-458x310Some of you may be starved for real policy conversations as we all wait to see if  Rep. Michelle Bachmann is correct that we have entered the Last Days.

Should the Last Days not be imminent, however, people will still need to go to college. Therefore, today we are delighted to post part II of a series on President Obama’s plan for higher education by guest blogger Judith C. Brown. The conversation began here on September 22 2013.

How to Combat Rising College Costs, Make College More Affordable, and Provide Better Information so Prospective Students May Decide What is Best Value for Them: Further Comments on President Obama’s Higher Education Plan

President Obama’s plan for higher education seeks to address very real challenges: the rising costs of providing a higher education, the decreasing ability of prospective students to afford it, and the inadequacy as well …

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June 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

Go Into Academia, Win Valuable Prizes


Where is your college president spending the summer?

Today’s New York Times has the latest revelations about New York University’s executive compensation practices. (Full disclosure: not only was Tenured Radical’s Ph.D. bestowed from those Violet walls, but my current institution recently had its own executive mini-scandal.)

As Ariel Kaminer reveals, NYU’s top execs and a few elite proffies are also offered mortgages for summer homes, “Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans,” writes Kaminer, who has been following this story for several months. “Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.” And how many universities offer you a mortgage after…

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March 8, 2013, 9:14 pm

Sticky Fingers: Columbia Puts On The Freshman Fifteen

nutellaHave you gotten over the Nutella thefts at Columbia University yet?

The first news was that $5000 of this Italian spread (made of chocolate, sugar, hazelnuts and palm oil) was being taken from the dining halls every week. Meant to be put on toast, it is also commonly ingested by simply sticking a spoon (or a finger) in the jar. The HuffPo originally pegged Columbia’s losses at 100 pounds a day, which kind of makes me gag every time I think about it.

My Lose It! iPhone app pegs a cup of Nutella at a whopping 1,600 calories: eat the entire jar, and it’s 2,000 calories. This makes me think that Columbia students must be readily identifiable on the Upper West Side as the young folks with coats straining at the buttons and chocolate smeared all over their faces.

But now the Columbia administration is saying that the thefts are only about a tenth of what was originally reported on …

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October 17, 2012, 2:32 pm

Calling Mary Poppins: Should Colleges Teach When Parents Don’t?

Should these books be on every dean’s shelf? Photo credit.

Now that I no longer teach at a residential campus, I rarely think about what used to be called in loco parentis, otherwise known as “parietals” or “colleges acting like parents.”

Mary Poppins was the original in loco parentis, but her university life descendants had titles like Dean of Women and Dorm Housemother.  You have to be sixty or older to remember what these remnants of Victorian England were like: they enforced a set of rules, the most odious of which purported to control campus sexuality by controlling women in particular. Women signed in and out of dorms, and had to be in at a certain hour. Men were allowed in the women’s dorms in the evening, but only in parlors. Any man visiting a woman’s room required an open door so that patrolling…

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May 26, 2012, 2:04 pm

Should Someone Who Has Been Harassed By A Faculty Member Sign A Confidentiality Agreement?

The answer, in short, is no.  Never. And if an administrator tells you that you must do so in order for the university to act, that person is bluffing.

I am moved to address this question because I stumbled upon a blog post written by a student I used to know.  I am not going to comment on the specifics of this case because I know absolutely nothing about it beyond what is alleged in the post.  But I do know that I have heard this story more than once, and it sounds familiar.  I also know that it is routine on college campuses to remand charges of sexual assault and sexual/racial/gender harassment made against faculty to secret administrative processes which have little or no legal standing except in the (important) sense that institutions must act on violations of their own rules.  What is too often the case is that the person harmed by a faculty member is asked, and agrees, …

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