If you were a professor at an American university, probably right after midterms. But if you were at Brown, it was last Tuesday.
Seems somebody at Brown invited New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to give a lecture. Kelly is by all accounts a sharp guy, worthy of hearing. He’s seen a lot of history.
Part of his talk might have been devoted to the city’s controversial “stop and frisk” program.
Wouldn’t that be interesting? Lot of questions about it, and some good arguments against it. What does Kelly say to those? Does stop and frisk infringe on freedom? Who is stopped and why? Why are whites stopped at rates much higher in proportion to their actual crime rates while blacks and Hispanics stopped at much lower rates? Does the city have something against whites?
What explains New York City’s rapid and astonishing drop in crime? Is it the fancy statistics program they run? Was it stop and frisk? Something else? What about the lawsuit (now in appeal) the city faces over the policy? Just what does the law that Kelly has sworn to uphold actually say?
Golly, a lot of fascinating intellectual questions. So what happened?
The kiddies stomped their feet, the sucked their thumbs, they screamed “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” They put their fingers in their ears and chanted No, No, No. They pooped their pants. Some of them might have demanded candy.
They didn’t need to be lectured by Kelly. They already knew the answers. And if they didn’t know them, they didn’t have to. The snot-nosed, uneducated, ignorant, exasperating little fiends chased Kelly from the room.
What did the professoriate do after witnessing this disgusting spectacle? Take out the paddle? Take the kiddies’ cell phones for the night? Boot the brats from campus?
No. They rushed headlong to the sides of the rotten brutes, petted them and cooed, “My poor babies! I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Oh you poor, poor dears. You almost had to hear an opinion which differed from yours! I promise my darlings—mommy promises!–that you will never ever have to go through this again.”
Several of the profs broke down and cried, traumatized by what they had almost allowed to happen to their precious charges. Those not yet tenured quaked in feared. They’re not going to give us poor teaching evaluations, are they?
What’s the tuition and fees at Brown these days? Some fifty-five thousand bucks? Not enough, not enough.