So here’s the thing. The other practice that we cherish as faculty that’s under assault nationwide is faculty governance. If your idea, as a faculty member, of faculty governance is that the one person who says, “I don’t like X” should override a committee and a process and an entire faculty, then guess what, we deserve to lose the fight for governance.
If your idea of faculty governance is that you demand the outcomes you wanted in the first place after the meeting is done, and think it’s ok to rock the casbah to get there, then we deserve to lose the fight for governance. When some Smith students and some faculty rise to say, “We don’t want Christine Lagarde to speak because the IMF is imperialist”, they’re effectively saying, “We don’t care who decided that or how”, and thus they’re also embedding an attack on governance along the way. Because surely to disdain the IMF (or the World Bank) so wholly that you will do what you can, what you must, to stop them from being honored guests is to also disdain anyone who might have, in any context, ever have thought otherwise. As, for example, in most Departments of Economics, perhaps here and there in pockets of usage and support and consultancies in other departments as well.
At which point we deserve to lose the fight for academic freedom as well as governance.
Brilliant reflection by Tim Burke