August 22, 2015
I've been thinking a lot about the state of the American university, especially in the wake of what happened to Steven Salaita. As discouraging as it seems, I truly believe that “we,” that loosely amorphous and large group across the world shocked by what happened and who support not only him but the ideals we think are truly important are in fact winning, but that the win will only come at the end of a long battle. It is, sadly, possible that by then we will have lost too many, those so bloodied and bruised that they refuse to stay on and simply leave academia for good.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the rot is beginning to spread and still elsewhere, we see a renewed vigour when it comes to defending what “the university” can and should stand for as well as, hopefully, a more critical appraisal of what it should not be.
But mostly, pondering the recent ruling by US District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber (a Reagan appointee and clearly not one of those flaming lefties) in favour of Salaita, I'm thinking of how best to really summarise it. Other, legal minds have and will discuss it differently and very well but I think it's fair to say that, in essence, Leinenweber stated, in spirit if not in actual words: “Duuuuuuuudes, what were you thinking?”