Academic senate disassociates itself from Professor MacDonald
Tiffany Rider, Managing Editor
October 6, 2008
Filed under News
The Cal State Long Beach academic senate finalized a document disassociating the senate from the works of professor Kevin MacDonald on Thursday.
The senate voted on the document to disassociate the senate from MacDonald’s work. MacDonald, a professor of psychology, has published written works that have been called racist and anti-Semitic. The psychology department and the university have already published documents that disassociate them from MacDonald’s work.
The document was a motion made by professor of linguists Alexandra Jaffe. Although Jaffe was not present, the senate decided that the document needed to be discussed Thursday.
The senate debated whether or not it was the job of the academic senate to get involved in the matter. It ultimately voted to publish the document, but only after making some key adjustments to its wording. The senate decided to leave out the phrase “condemns and” from the following portion of the document:
“While the academic denate defends Dr. Kevin MacDonald’s academic freedom and freedom of speech, as it does for all faculty, it firmly and unequivocally condemns and disassociates itself from the anti-Semitic and white ethnocentric views he has expressed.”
History professor Albie Burke argued at the meeting that if the senate decided to disassociate itself from MacDonald that it was the same thing as shunning him and his work.
Vincent Delcasino, the chair of the geography department, said that if the senate passed the document it would be huge.
“It’s a small thing but I think it’s a powerful thing,” Delcasino said.
The senate decided that it was not appropriate to use “condemns” because it contradicts its defense of MacDonald’s rights to free speech.
MacDonald responded to the passing of the document by saying via email that, “I am glad that they simply dissociated themselves rather than condemned me. As I’ve said many times on faculty forums at CSULB, everyone has ethnic interests. This is an absolutely respectable scientific proposal. European Americans are the only group whose ethnic interests have been pathologized. No one disputes that Koreans, say, have ethnic interests and have a right to keep Korea Korean. Quite a few of the people who voted to censure me are ethnic activists on behalf of their ethnic group. The College of Liberal Arts is full of these people. Yet only I am censured.”
CSULB President F. King Alexander addressed the senate on that same Thursday afternoon, spurring discussion on the national economic situation and how it will affect students and student services.
“The bailout is kind of like drinking castor oil … it’s something we have to do,” Alexander said.
Students can expect a decrease in part-time employment opportunities on and off campus, Alexander said.
“We need to get as much information to the students as we can,” Alexander said. “They are subjected to the same type of job losses.”
When the senate suggested that employment services and career planning services need to be vamped up, vice president of Student Services Doug Robinson responded by saying, “We do have an extensive career development program … [the] problem is there aren’t jobs to put them [students] in.”
Alexander said that another thing that happens when the economy goes bad is that many white-collared workers who lose their jobs turn to higher education. He said that the same type of thing might happen with students who are planning to graduate but have no job opportunities immediately after graduation.
“Graduate education is a good way to hide from the economy,” Alexander said.
He also explained that private student loans will become increasingly expensive and few and far between. Governmental loans will still be available to students. Alexander said that it is important that students get educated on loans.
“We need to work with our students, particularly our first generation students, about the difference between good and bad loans,” Alexander said.
Alexander said that the national average for endowments is down 6 percent, and CSULB endowments are down about 4 percent. A decrease in endowments means less funding for some student programs and for the 49er Shops, Inc.
The number of gifts and those giving to CSULB has not declined, and Alexander said in an email that the university is doing well in private giving to CSULB.
Both students and parents of students are, and will be, affected by the current status of the economy.
“Rents will probably jump off campus,” Alexander said. He also said that landlords will probably do this within the next year, but there shouldn’t be an increase in on-campus living.
“We will not be following this trend,” Alexander said.
Alexander also addressed enrollment numbers, and said, “More people unemployed means more enrolling in college.” It is expected that CSULB won’t be accommodating to this trend.
Alexander also spoke on his concern for the funding of public schools in Long Beach. He explained that with the devaluation of homes there will be a decrease in property taxes, and with property taxes being a main source of funds for public schools, these institutions will receive less funding and will have to consolidate within the district.
“Our schools aren’t going to get more money,” Alexander said. “We need to prepare for this.”
The lack of funds will in turn allow for less preparation for college, and freshmen students coming into CSULB will need more remedial training in order to progress through college.
Alexander suggested encouraging high school students to start taking college courses sooner and taking summer courses.
“We need to develop some ways to get them here earlier,” Alexander said.