Academia: The Last Refuge Of Idiots

Apologies to any intelligent, normal people working in academia, but this article I read about a month ago just begs for an insulting title. It’s called The Problem With College Tenure and contains some of the more idiotic statements made by those working in the venerated, strange institution that is academia today.

Middle-aged Steven G. Salaita of Blacksburg, Va., recently suffered every working stiff’s nightmare. He quit his job for a better one, but before starting at the new place, his employer checked out his social media persona—and withdrew the offer.

Now he has no job at all. His friends think he got hosed.

This tale of woe has a couple of twists, however. The first is that Steven Salaita was a tenure-track college professor, and they almost never get canned. So what did he do? That’s where his presence on social media comes in. These didn’t turn out to be compromising photos of Steven at a party looking smashed or Steven on a camping trip smoking a blunt.

No, this was Salaita, formerly a professor in the English department at Virginia Tech, slamming Jews, U.S. soldiers, and “rednecks” on Twitter—and relating his plans to introduce future classrooms of 19-year-olds to his obsessive hatred of Israel.

Seeing this, University of Illinois officials reconsidered letting Salaita teach two classes in the school’s American Indian studies program. One might sympathize with him—hey, he was just blowing off steam and the war in Gaza is upsetting—until looking at his Twitter feed. There, Salaita reveals himself to be a foul-mouthed fanatic whose antipathy for Israel is so thorough that he calls for the country’s destruction, fantasizes about the mass murder of Jewish settlers, blames Jews themselves for anti-Semitism, and says that anybody who disagrees with him “is an awful human being.”

There’s more—much more—if you go read the entire article. It’s actually frightening. I’m happy to say I escaped such idiocy during my education. Sure, many of my professors had a definite leftist tilt, but none of them expressed anything remotely anti-Semitic and they were always open to people expressing their own views in the classroom.

Occasionally (okay, it’s been more than just occasionally in recent months), I mourn the fact that I’m not an academic or on track to have an academic career. Then I read nonsense like the article linked above, and realize perhaps I dodged a bullet. After all, I work with pretty cool people—most people I’ve met at The Bank so far have been very nice and don’t have an obsessive hatred of things I like.

I propose we abolish tenure and replace it with multi-year contracts. But that is a post for another time, if you’re interested.