instance! Even the argument that Caroline was dividing the department seems a poor one. You should have seen the classics department when I arrived, but no one suggested getting rid of William Arrowsmith, then the head of classics. And besides, no matter what action was taken about Caroline, the department was going to be divided. Why should spleen, and not kind pity, toughness rather than oversensitivity to the issue of academic freedom, heal the split? Again, the stress on the PhD dissertation which Caroline had not yet finished was also puzzling, given the current emphasis on effective teaching at the University of Texas at Austin as against the claims of research.s Reading the documents furnished with good grace by Messrs. Bacon, Lieb, Mourelatos, and Silber, was an enlightening, if painful, experience. Everyone seems to have acted in accordance with their principles and conscience, and yet Caroline was somehow railroaded, if only procedurally. What seems clear is that if Caroline’s Capitol speech had never been given, the intolerably searching scrutiny of his place in the department would probably not have been made, and thus the different principles that would all produce a seven-six majority against him on the first count could not have been invoked. Procedures As the case of Larry Caroline is closed, there is little point in hashing over the dates and the events, which are familiar to everyone. One might, however, point to the procedural irregularities. It is all very well saying that the new dean’s continued presence and voting rights on the philosophy budget council in no way influenced the other votes or interfered with its free exercise of academic judgment, but it had one massive consequence: a majority ‘ vote against Caroline of 7-6, which could then be used by the president to make Caroline’s unusually early severance seem in accordance with regular academic custom. The dean, of course, could not in good conscience or without schizophrenia have refused to confirm the majority vote for which he was partly responsible. It seems also clear that the budget council by agreeing on May 21 specifically to reconsider in the fall their decision of May 11 must have thought that the majority would still be the arbiter of Caroline’s fate. This was not to be the case: the contrary recommendation by the chairman against was approved by the dean, and majority rule was this time rejected by the president. Of course the administration does not have to accept the majority vote in such matters. Indeed were I president and believed, as President Norman 4 The Texas Observer Hackerman did, that the whole business was simply and solely a matter of academic competence, then I’d find out how the distinguished philosophy professor, 0. K. Bouwsma, voted and to hell with the majority! On the other hand, with such sensitive issues involved as academic freedom and the fragile reputation of the university, it is probably wise to be consistent. If the majority vote prevailed the first time, then, as the American Assn. of University Professors’ executive committee argued, let it prevail the second time, particularly as there would be thus no apparent procedural irregularity as the dean’s double influence on the first decision. The Antagonists Before I looked into the whole Caroline case, I had thought there were three or four main characters involved the rest could be cast as satellites or spearbearers. There was Chairman Erwin, Dean Silber, President Hackerman, and the dangerous Titan Caroline, who needed no further characterization than as Prometheus the Fire-Bringer, very appropriately nailed to a big rock, to be pitied but not emulated by the chorus. Who was to be Zeus and who the Eagle? President Hackerman seemed, however, cast in the role of Fate, blindly ratifying all lower decisions. On the Olympian heights, Erwin, I soon realized, had made his unwise and explosive statement to the press for excellent motives. The committee on academic freedom discovered from him that “his statement was addressed to the state at large in an attempt to forestall untoward interference in the university’s affairs, an objective that was apparently successful.” So Erwin, for once, gave himself a white hat in the unfolding of this Texan drama. Dean Silber There can be little question as to where Dean Silber stands on academic freedom and liberal issues in general. He has been president of the Texas Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, and he has spoken up forcibly on matters of integration I remember the story of his fighting unsuccessfully, in the 1950’s, the expulsion of a black singer from an opera produced by the school of music, and I referred earlier [Obs., Oct. 101 to his forthright defense of Roger Shattuck when Shattuck published a letter asking President Johnson to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. More generally, Silber’s declaration on the nature of a university in the Alcalde quoting at length: The power of a university is the power of mind and imagination, not the power of muscles, money, or political influence…. And the only safeguard of individual self-expression, on which a university’s achievement in persuasion depends, is academic freedom. … No administration takes lightly the threat of censure either by its own faculty or by the AAUP: consequently, the administration of the University of Texas, obligated to observe the rules and regulations of the board of regents, would not propose to dismiss a faculty member unless it were confident that the case against him was overwhelming I emphasis added Attack is far more likely to come … from an alumnus; or from a member of the board of regents whose success in business, and friendship for a governor lead him to believe that he is an educator and is uniquely qualified to set the course of the university…. A university must always be free to appear “unreasonable” to the public because this is the guise in which new insights usually appear … occasionally a university may have to condemn public opinion as prejudiced ignorance, public art as trash, and public morality as shameless compromise and duplicity. All this is impeccable, and it makes one wonder why some of the faculty have been critical of Silber’s stands on how to handle student disruption; his defense of Chairman Erwin; and the Caroline affair, in which it should be remembered that Silber must have regarded the case against Caroline as “overwhelming,” despite the half of the budget council that wished to retain him. I suspect that the key to this tragedy for I regard the affair as a tragedy for Silber as well as Caroline and the university may lie in the psychological and ideological make-up of the principals, rather than in any moral flaws that may be invoked. Like many of the young men brought in to improve the university, Silber, being a philosopher, is more averse than most tolosing an intellectual debate, which can give students a false impression of ruthlessness and impatience. His swans are usually pure white, and if one of them turns out to be a goose, it is \(to mix a may have been the case with Caroline. Although Caroline was strongly sought after by Silber initially, Caroline’s brand of intellectual questioning and freedom was exercised in radical, and therefore “irresponsible ways,” of which Silber, a moderate and thoughtful liberal rather than one of the “knee-jerk” kind, could not approve. As a result, Caroline’s intellectual competence came into question, and Silber could sincerely advocate his dismissal on purely academic grounds. Further evidence would hardly be necessary. To advocate, as Caroline did, a revolution in America is “appallingly bad rhetoric”; political theory is supposedly within Caroline’s professional competence; therefore Caroline is prima facie an incompetent member of the philosophy department. In such matters subsidiary arguments are not hard to seek; Caroline had not produced a dissertation or any substantial piece of scholarly work, and so on. The same can of course be said about
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