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Excuse Me?

Where did people get this absurd idea that universities and colleges were open fora for free speech? They are aristocracies, plain and simple, as anyone who failed to note the difference between a garden variety professor and a professor of an endowed chair would find out in short order. They are medieval institutions still clinging to the feudal system. the nobility faculty normally ignore the grumbling and bleating of the peasants students, but they can come down hard if someone becomes annoying.

If you wish to survive, you quickly memorize the system of academic rank used by your institution.

The problem at the University of Florida could have been resolved immediately if the “monarch” had intervened, but he was busy preparing the team for a game this Saturday.

6 comments

1 Jim Bales { 09.19.07 at 5:17 pm }

Bryan,

Generally well said, but I will pick one nit. The students are not the peasants — that is reserved for the non-faculty staff of the university. Or, as a friend of mine put it, “This school has 3 types of people. Faculty, students, and furniture.” (He considered himself a chaise lounge. I’m more of an ottoman.)

In general, at universities, students are variously encouraged, coddled, put-up-with, listened-to, ignored, tolerated, or fleeced. (The last is under the purview of the Bursar.)

2 Bryan { 09.19.07 at 5:38 pm }

In feudal terms, the staff constitutes the yeoman class who were required to provide military service but ignored most of the time. The craft class who lived apart and provided all of the comforts of life for the nobility. The yeoman lacked a true appreciation for the wonderfulness of the nobles who were their clients, just because they could make and do things.

3 Badtux { 09.19.07 at 5:43 pm }

It all started with all that talk of “academic freedom”. The peasants start thinking maybe they should have some sort of “academic freedom” too, if the nobility gets that “academic freedom”.

Silly peasants. That’s not how it works. The “freedom” in “academic freedom” has nothing to do with “free speech”. It has to do with, well, academic stuff, that’s all the peasantry needs to know.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

4 Bryan { 09.19.07 at 7:23 pm }

If this sort of thing isn’t nipped in the bud, you’ll have teachers who think that the school system should listen to them about education.

If you want to learn about real down in the mud politics attend a few faculty senate meetings around budget time and don’t forget your armor.

5 whig { 09.20.07 at 12:59 am }

Aren’t universities more like monasteries than feudal? Same era, but a different kind of tenure.

6 Bryan { 09.20.07 at 9:14 am }

The Church was just hierarchal as the rest of society during medieval times and generally featured the same families.