Sunday, June 4, 2017

UNC discovers a new way to squelch faculty critics: cancel their courses

The self-destruction of the University of North Carolina has been a marvel to watch. It's not just the fake classes or the athletic scandals. The truly remarkable thing about UNC is its sheer inability to let the controversies die away. Would anyone have even noticed Jay Smith's class in the history department,
"Big-Time College Sports and the Rights of Athletes, 1956 to the present," if the administration had not cancelled it? Of course, Smith is one of the heroes in this whole sordid affair -- a faculty member who has been willing to defend whistleblower Mary Willingham and speak out publicly for academic integrity. And yes, the administration would like him to keep quiet. But an undergraduate history class? It's not exactly prime time television. And surely even the blockheads running UNC realize that it's the job of history professors to teach history.

My favorite part of the News and Observer story on this latest episode is the correspondence from Bubba (yes, Bubba) Cunningham, the UNC athletic director. Bubba was very unhappy with Smith's course.

Cunningham responded, and suggested that he teach the course, “thus saving the university a sizable amount of money and you a lot of time.” “Given that I have a MBA and 20 years of relevant, practical experience in inter-collegiate athletics I believe I would be better suited to teach this class,” Cunningham wrote.

If only Smith had taken him up on that offer -- on the condition that Bubba would let him coach the Tar Heel basketball team.

1 comment:

  1. Was there sufficient enrollment for the course? Or was it cancelled even before students had a chance to enroll? Was it a summer course or a regular semester course?