Thursday, December 20, 2007
Personal Aside: Why DePaul Should be Stripped of its Catholic Namefor Truth in Labeling if for No Other Reason.
Last week I began a three-part series in The Wanderer, the oldest national Catholic weekly newspaper in the country, arguing that DePaul University should be stripped of its Catholic label. Cardinal Francis George can do the honors if he choosesbecause while the university is run by the Vincentian order and a largely lay board, it stands on archdiocese ground. I cannot reprint the first article here but it is available on The Wanderer website for a small fee. But I can paraphrase some of the arguments without breaking the seal of confidentiality.
Usually when an authenticist Catholic argues for the stripping of the name Catholic from an institution of higher learning, he is greeted by liberal snobs who say you dont understand the idea of a university or dissent is the foundation stone of learning. Right they arebut the genius of a truly serviceable Catholic university has always been that while it should be a forum where contrary ideas are presented, the nature of the school is to conclude with an affirmation of what the Catholic position is. This is the way it used to be ever since the time when Catholic monks formed the university system of the West. It is absolutely not what happens now in many (not all) mainline Catholic universities. But DePaul is the worst.
How is DePaul is worst? First, it fails to separate falsity from truth which is the core of a universitys purpose. Second, it has actively persecuted a faculty member for his ideas and has driven him out of the university because not even in a classroom setting he challenged a canard represented by Muslims that Israel usurped its land and deserves to be driven into the seat. Third, it has constructed a gay-rights minor which engages in the seduction of the innocent, disseminating texts that are so pornographic as to do systemic violence to women and men (as pornography is likely to do).
In the first article that ran last week, I ran out a litany of teaching jobs I have had (for the most part in addition to working as a vice president of Quaker Oatsnot for the purpose of preening but to show that having taught in many universities, including twice at DePaul, I know what Im talking about. Teaching for me began at the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, when the Dean contacted me and said that his MBA candidates were well schooled in business but not particularly in the intersection of government and business. So I began there in 1974 once a week, going to Philadelphia from Washington, D. C. where I made my weekly trek for 27 years, staying overnight at the Bellevue Stratford hotel (famed later for being the host hotel for Legionnaires disease), teaching the next morning and coming home.
I put in a two-year stint at Wharton, was asked to do a third but declined because the Kellogg school of Northwestern wanted to initiate the same course which I called Influencing the System. I taught at Kellogg for two years. Then I got the Kennedy fellowship at Harvards Institute of Politics where I stayed in Cambridge for six months total (thanks to my companys forbearance). After that I got a Woodrow Wilson International Fellowship from Princeton, N. J. which sent me around the country several times a year (mostly on vacation) lecturing at smaller schools. They ranged form Philips Exeter (an academy) to the hotbed of radicalism in the nationReed College in Portland, Oregon in the mid-1970s where, believe it or not, I was summoned to stand in a prisoners dock by the student senate and prove that the grocery industry was not exploiting the poor! I beat the indictment by saying that the poor can livealthough I dont recommend it for dietary variety but nevertheless can liveon the oatmeal that my company invented from oats that had heretofore been used to feed horses and which in the 19th century pioneered its manufacture for what is now 2 pennies a serving. Case closed.
Rounding out the circuit I taught at the University of South Texas, at Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin and a hot of others including Loyola University-Chicago (two stints) and DePaul (two stints) where I co-taught with a good friend of mine, David Wilhelm, the former Democratic national chairman. And that was before one of the more salutary experiencesteaching at Roosevelt University under the aegis of my friend Dr. Paul Green and with the support of many including Jack Franks and his Dad (his Dad having been an alum of Roosevelt).
Thats as much as I will write on the subject right nowbut when I finish I hope I will have made the case that DePaul is far less an academic institution than all the others and that it has persecuted unjustly a professor who had the courage to stand up against a mob. There is no doubt whatsoever that Cardinal George can strip the Catholic identification from DePaul. In doing so he can disabuse an institution which is sailing under false pretensesthat it is a Catholic university and that it is for all practical purposes a university of the mind where ideas can thrive and not undergo persecution.
But make no mistake: DePaul is the place where the Democratic party has matriculated and its board is filled with Democratic worthies and a lot of others who wish to perpetuate the fiction that it is a fine university and a Catholic one at that.
Your own comments reflecting your experiences and observations will be gratefully received.