To the editor:
Walter Gardner’s concern about the NYU chemistry professor is laudable, but it overlooks a few relevant trends.
First, as the nation’s fertility rate drops, the pool of available students to enroll also drops. To stay afloat financially, colleges have to cut costs and raise revenues. They have chosen to cut costs by hiring adjuncts who must kowtow to students in order to keep their teaching positions. This is not an accident.
Precisely because the pool of available students is shrinking, academic standards MUST fall. Every university has to delve deeper into the shrinking pool in order to maintain student population (and revenue). Those less-capable students MUST succeed, or less-capable students will not apply and pay tuition.
Tenured professors cannot be coerced into dropping their standards, but adjuncts can be. As an added bonus, adjuncts require no benefits package. This translates into lower teaching costs, and higher potential revenue streams as formerly marginal students are now “mainstreamed” into average and above-average students by the adjuncts’ necessarily lower standards.
The second trend is only a bit more subtle. More women are getting college degrees, more women are holding high-level academic management positions. Women value relationships more than they do truth, and the women who are in academia, by definition, value career advancement over family. Thus, as the number of women in the university classroom and boardroom rise, the mission of the university necessarily changes to match women’s now-dominant values.
The male concern for truth and rigor give way to the female concern about maintaining relationships. Rigorous instruction must necessarily fall so as to maintain student happiness. The women themselves value their academic positions over the raising of children (that’s how they got their positions), so female-dominated universities necessarily churn out students who mirror their worldview. That is, university students also view the raising of children as a useless pursuit. Which means the pool of students in each succeeding year continues to fall in a self-reinforcing trend.
There can be only one result: universities cannot be truth-seeking institutions concerned about educating the next generation. They must necessarily become relationship-maintaining institutions concerned only with status. That is the very definition of “woke”.
This has been going on for fifty years. Women who choose sterility and professional power are completing this transformation. Given the shrinking pool of students, the feminine solution is the easiest short-term fix to retain university revenue. Ironically, this short-term solution necessarily destroys the institution it was meant to preserve.
Men build. Women nurture. Universities were created to build. Now that the men are no longer dominant in university structures, universities won’t build. Their purpose has been taken from them.