Observations on President Mandel’s latest announcement about the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion. (See also this solid Record article.)

1) I think my detailed observations from last month were spot on. Key point:

If Mandel’s strategy for freeing Williams from the legacy of Falk’s folly depended meaningfully on this Committee, she would put fewer students on it, ensure that those students were carefully selected and entrust the Committee with a broad mandate. She is doing the opposite. Therefore, we know that this Committee will be unimportant.

2) Check out those Committee members:

Two of the student members — Michael Crisci ’21 and Rachel Porter ’21 — signed the student petition against the Chicago Statement. That document — how to put this neutrally? — does not provide many reasons for compromise. It is not clear how strongly Crisci/Porter felt about the issue. Not every signer was, presumably, fully committed. But for Mandel to allow students onto the committee who may very well have no inclination to allow someone like John Derbyshire (or Charles Murray or . . .) is a sign that she expects nothing of use from the committee.

Two of the faculty members — Cheryl Shanks and Fred Strauch — are strong proponents of free speech. (I have not discussed the topic with either.) Shanks authored a Record op-ed which was, perhaps, the strongest faculty statement on the issue. Strauch is a member of the rump Republican/conservative/libertarian/non-progressive wing of the faculty.

3) Note the change to the committee’s charge. New version:

I am charging an ad hoc committee with recommending to me, by May 2019, a set of speaker invitation guidelines that would demonstrate our full commitment to both inquiry and inclusion.

The emphasis on the “and” is new. Hmmm. Perhaps I shouldn’t make a big deal about changing patterns of italicisms . . .

4) The key power/responsibility in this whole discussion will fall to the Coordinating Committee. More on it some other day . . .

5) From the Record:

In a collective statement to the Record, committee members emphasized the range of backgrounds included in its membership. “President Mandel’s process for constituting this group of faculty, student, staff and alum representatives involved allowing each group to use their own governing bodies to nominate potential members,” they said. “Working together as a committee will in fact involve establishing a working model of inclusive dialogue among a diverse group.”

a) Good to see the Record picking up the phone and getting a statement. b) Why not publish the entire statement, rather than just two sentences from it? Even if there is not room in the physical paper, the statement could be added in a comment box to the web article. c) The Record should also have reached out to some critics, like either the faculty behind the petition of the leaders of CARE-Now.

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