Chastisements

Polemicist hereby chastises...

"If, when a man has fallen into habits of idleness, of daydreaming, and of sloth, putting off his most important duties continually til the morrow, another man were to awaken him one fine morning with the heavy blows of a whip, and were to whip him unmercifully, until he who was unable to work for pleasure now worked for fear - would not that man, the chastiser, indeed be his benefactor and truest friend?"

-Charles Baudelaire
 Intimate Journals

 

December 1990; page 2; Volume 2, No. 3
Polemicist

"Dollar" Bill Cunningham
Peter Flawn disciple

In his squalid Primer for University Presidents, former UT President Peter Flawn declares that "the ad hoc committee is, of course, the device by which the president buys time to deal with a potentially nasty situation, [or] defuses a fastbreaking and explosive situation."

Flawn must be applauding his successor Bill Cunningham's handling of UT's understaffing crisis. "Dollar" Bill has formed the ad hoc Committee on the Undergraduate Experience, his third in 18 months, charged with studying the "purpose undergraduate education," "in the broadest sense." For several years now students have demanded that the University hire enough faculty to bring the student-faculty ratio down to reasonable levels. This journal has argued repeatedly that the University must divert funds from its capital-intensive high-tech research projects in order to equitably fund undergraduate programs.

The creation of the new committee promises to postpone any meaningful action until at least next summer. A list of a few of Cunningham's more heinous appointments to the committee confirms his lack of seriousness in the matter. The list includes: failed SA-presidential candidate and political opportunist Tracy Silna; Rich Heller, one of the Texas Union bureaucrats responsible for the recently rejected franchising proposal; and Larry Carver, an Associate Dean of Liberal Arts who used to write speeches for UT Chancellor Hans Mark, an architect of UT's high-dollar research projects.

But most egregiously, Cunningham appointed Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, former CIA operative turned Austin booster. Inman served as the first CEO of MCC, a high-tech research consortium housed on UT property. To this day MCC pays one dollar per year in rent, even though the University paid $34 million for the building and equipment. We doubt Inman will argue against multimillion dollar subsidies to the private sector just to hire more faculty.

Since Cunningham has so doggedly adhered to Flawn's technique of forming committees to defuse student unrest, we direct him to the last chapter of Flawn's treatise, entitled "Exiting the Presidency." "If your retirement from the presidency is timely," Flawn writes, "a great many nice things will happen to you." Aren't you getting tired, Bill, of the hassle over under-staffing, Barton Creek, racist frats and E306? No more committees, Bill. Just step down.

James Vick
UT Vice President for Student Affairs

Outraged at the year-long barrage of fraternity rape, violence, misogyny and racism, some 400 students massed on the South Mall on Nov. 28 to demand justice. In defiance, 200-300 frat boys gathered threateningly to shout racist, sexist and homophobic slurs, thereby confirming the protestors reasons for being there.

Representing the administration at the near-riot was James Vick, a man who by all counts was a human being before becoming an administrator. Vick had to be cajoled into speaking by demonstrators who feared a violent backlash from the mob of angry frat boys. "What we need to do is to work together to solve these problems," declared Vick. "All of us are committed to having a university that will tolerate differences of opinion." Vick tells us that "We expect you to tolerate all students as individuals."

Does Vick want us to "tolerate" students who carve Greek letters into an innocent victim's face? Or how about the student that raped a 16 year-old girl at the Sigma Chi house last spring? Or should we "tolerate" the students who not five minutes before Vick spoke shouted "nigger" at Toni Luckett? And should we "tolerate" shameless apologists like IFC President Larry Dubinski who try to deny the problem of fraternity violence out of existence?

The point of the rally, since Vick apparently missed it, was that students will not tolerate violence against women, violence against minorities, or violence against random people jogging down the street. To confront these problems, the UT administration should follow the advice of Students United for Rape Elimination - adopt multicultural curriculum reform and pressure the national organizations of all UT fraternities involved in violent acts to permanently revoke their charters.

University Review's anonymous racist cartoon

University Review

Despite its bitter attacks on multicultural curriculum reform and its chauvinistic construction of Western culture, the Review has claimed that its positions aren't racist, but merely alternative points of view that "the Left" refuses so "tolerate" (see previous chastisement). With their November/December issue, however, the Review editors shattered that weak argument. The entire back page of that issue displays the following racist caricature, ostensibly of the TV rapper MC Hammer, depicted standing in front of the Tower surrounded by the slogans, "The New E306?" and "Can't Teach This!"

No rational argument can be made that this anonymous cartoon relates to E306. The only possible connection must be that the Review staff essentializes black people, rap music, gold chains, and curriculum reform all together as one concept. According to the magazine's Advertisers' Index, the back page supposedly is an ad for Texas Textbooks. The publisher of the Review claims that's a mistake. But mistake or not, other Review advertisers should hope that the magazine won't make a "mistake" and run a racist caricature where their ad should be.

Victoria Moore
Sycophant, Power Monger

We fear that Council of Graduate Students (COGS) president Victoria Moore is angling for a job with the UT administration. Like any UT bureaucrat, she champions causes that divide students while consolidating her own political power base.

She has actively thwarted efforts to mobilize graduate students since her arrival on the scene as president last spring. As the Graduate Professional Association, after years of work with the administration on insurance premiums for graduate students, began to mobilize mass protests, Moore set herself up as the negotiator for the "graduate student constituency." Despite her insistence that graduate students have their own agenda separate from undergraduates, Moore has consistently opposed attempts to unionize grad students around these issues.

Her latest offense was her attempt to purge graduate student SA Rep. David Ritchie, after he dared contradict her in public. In the Nov. 5 Texan, Moore advocated splitting the SA into graduate and undergraduate sections. "A combined graduate-undergraduate agenda is too broad for the Students' Association," she explained to The Texan. The next day in the paper, SA reps, including David Ritchie, blasted her idea as counterproductive, since divided students obviously wield less power. After Ritchie helped pierce her trial balloon, Moore backed down, claiming she never really suggested splitting the SA at all!

Moore justified her urge to split the SA in part by implying that only a grad-student SA would appropriate money for groups like the Howlers, a grad-student research/activist organization. Ironically, though, while Moore was still mouthing off in the press, Ritchie maneuvered a bill through the Students' Assembly that gave $2,000 to the Liberated Learning School (see ad page 9), a Howlers spinoff.

Despite her equivocations and misrepresentations, however, she still sought revenge for Ritchie's audacity in pointing out the stupidity of her plan. Moore wrote an open letter to Ritchie in The Texan chiding him for ignoring his "constituency" (read: Moore's agenda) and demanding that he appear at the next COGS meeting to repent for his sins. Ritchie showed up late, by which time Moore had already engineered a vote for his ouster as SA rep, without warning him first and despite the fact that COGS has no authority to do so. SA Executive Director Eric Dixon ruled that Moore has no power to fire Ritchie.

While Moore may be sell-serving in her chastisement of Ritchie for not serving his "constituency," we must admit that Moore has never lost sight of her own. Moore's vision of graduate students' separate agenda rests on the premise that grad-student teachers need special training to fulfill their classroom obligations. Conveniently, Moore champions a fat budget for the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, from which she draws her salary.

For her self-serving apologetics, she has earned our scorn.