Scott Jaschik has a fascinating and distressing article at Inside Higher Ed about the misdeeds at the College of DuPage, where the board of trustees recently proposed the adoption of policies that essentially mirror David Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights.”
The proposed changes are a useful reminder that the essence of the ABOR has nothing to do with protecting students from the whims of a privileged, politicized minority caste; indeed, the trustees at DuPage are claiming (among other prerogatives) “exclusive power over the curriculum, the initial pay of individual faculty members, and all educational programs.” The proposals also include establishing exclusive trustee control over the selection and planning of events featuring outside speakers, and — for good measure — they also propose allowing the college president to have the final say over what appears in the student newspaper.
The whole piece is worth reading. I know a lot of decent, well-intentioned people who yammer with great sincerity about “shared governance,” as if the term hadn’t actually originated with people who couldn’t be trusted to share a plate of nachos. At many institutions* the phrase offers cover for administrators to go ahead and do whatever they wish. At least at DuPage, they’ve gone ahead and dropped the pretense.
* Not my own, of course, which is a true workers’ collective.