(Doctor of Letters) academic dress,
Why are students forcing out commencement speakers? - Vox: "Goldberg spoke to Vox about the swinging pendulum of anti-liberal leftism and why it's most evident on college campuses — as well as about whether the uproar over commencement speakers really fits the trend. The conversation has been condensed and lightly edited and rearranged."
The Nation even quotes the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that seems to be quoted by almost all these commencement-speaker-cancellations-are-a-problem posts. Why the Nation would want to quote this group is hard to fathom.
Protesters force IMF chief to cancel speech: "Such reversals have become more common in recent years, said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, referring to this time of year as “disinvitation season.” What has changed is not so much the protests themselves, but the willingness of colleges and speakers to give in, adding that many apparently voluntary withdrawals are made at the college’s urging."The Chronicle of High Education also makes sure to snip at this cancellation. The destruction of higher education in Greece by misinformed austerity isn't covered in this publication, it seems.
IMF Chief Withdraws From Smith College’s Graduation After Protests – The Ticker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education: "“An invitation to speak at a commencement is not an endorsement of all views or policies of an individual or the institution she or he leads,” Ms. McCartney wrote. “Such a test would preclude virtually anyone in public office or position of influence. Moreover, such a test would seem anathema to our core values of free thought and diversity of opinion. I remain committed to leading a college where differing views can be heard and debated with respect.”"
IMF's Christine Lagarde Won't Speak at Smith, Part of a Growing List - WSJ.com: "Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors, defended the rights of students and faculty to protest, petition and otherwise make their voices heard. "There's a long history of protests in the United States; that's what we were founded on, and I think student protests are partially an introduction to democracy," Mr. Fichtenbaum said."
Christine Lagarde Withdraws From Smith College’s Commencement Speech - TIME: "Christine Lagarde withdrew as Smith College's commencement speaker under student pressure, but a true “marketplace of ideas” must be open to hearing from people from different walks of life, professions, experiences and philosophical and political points of view." [...]
A scholarly community should approach speakers with even radically different points of view as opportunities to be engaged, not as a political loss that must be avoided at all costs. Exercising a little intellectual humility might lead students and faculty away from asking “what can I do to get rid of the speaker?” and towards “what might I learn if I hear this person out?” After all, if you’re only willing to hear from people with whom you agree, it’s far less likely you will learn new things.Smith College economics faculty protested the withdrawal of Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund and the students mounted a petition. Ms. Lagarde declined.
Smith College: Economics: "May 13, 2014 As faculty members of the Department of Economics at Smith College, we are very disappointed that Christine Lagarde has decided to withdraw as this year’s commencement speaker. Many of our students share in this disappointment. There was a great deal of excitement on campus at the prospect of hearing from Madame Lagarde, who has achieved the rare distinction of becoming a female leader of a global economic intitution. We acknowledge the controversy that surrounds International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies and, as individual economists, hold a range of views on these policies and the complex, difficult problems they seek to address. We also recognize the evolving nature of the IMF as an institution and in that context, looked forward to hearing Madame Lagarde’s remarks. The withdrawal of Madame Lagarde as our commencement speaker represents a lost opportunity to hear directly from the leader of this influential global institution and to use that address as a valuable input into a well-informed, multi-faceted, and nuanced discourse on our campus about crucial issues facing the world."
Petition Reconsider the Smith College 2014 Commencement Speaker: "Even if we give Ms. Lagarde the benefit of the doubt, and recognize that she is just a good person working in a corrupt system, we should not by any means promote or encourage the values and ideals that the IMF fosters. The IMF has been a primary culprit in the failed developmental policies implanted in some of the world’s poorest countries. This has led directly to the strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide. At Smith College, a school with a campaign called “Women for the World”, we are taught how to stand up and fight against inequality and corruption. We are taught to speak up when something is unjust, and we do not wish to be represented by a system that doesn’t support us."But this economics professor thinks its all about problems decades ago. That whole global financial meltdown that might better be described as a purge, astronomical student debt load, continuing austerity, and international student protests to reclaim the economics curriculum have nothing to do with student problems with this speaker. None at all. It's all about points of view. Students ruined the chance of the economics department to meet and greet an IMF leader.
Smith College economics professors cite ‘lost opportunity’ with IMF head Christine Lagarde’s withdrawal from grad talk | GazetteNet.com: “American universities thrive on debate, on disagreement, on openness, on exploration,” Zimbalist said Tuesday. “You can’t learn if you’re closed to other people’s point of view.”
"Roisin O’Sullivan, associate professor of economics, said she thinks the objections mostly relate to IMF policies that were put in place in the 1980s and 1990s, and she believes the institution has shown itself willing to evolve in the time since. "A Harvard op ed earlier this year found that academic freedom is perhaps too thin a support for these policies. Justice also matters.
The Doctrine of Academic Freedom | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson: "Yet the liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?"
Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.