Those humorless leftists who dominate the official venues for faculty discourse at the City University of New York are at it again! During the course of the November 19th public hearing by the Board of Trustees, CCNY Professor Bill Crain denounced that body for raising tuition by 5%, ending an associate’s degree track at John Jay College, and raising admissions standards. These, and related nefarious initiatives, would result in a “whiter, more middle class university,” he claimed. That Crain is white, and a member of the upper-middle class, seemed to have troubled him not at all.
That Crain, whom Sharad Karkhanis once dubbed the "the Mahatma Gandhi" of the Professional Staff Congress, should so complain is hardly noteworthy. Indeed, he seems to do little else. What was of interest was the response of University Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the most steadfast voice for sanity and accountability at CUNY. Weisenfeld rebutted the charges, and in response to a demand that Crain be allowed the opportunity to respond, replied that “libel doesn’t deserve a response.”
This was too much for Bill and the New Caucus claque on hand, including Barbara Bowen. Crain proclaimed that it was unbecoming of a board member to accuse a faculty member of libel, and demanded an apology. To date, one has not been forthcoming.
However, why it is not suitable for Trustee Wiesenfeld to suggest that Professor Crain’s remarks amounted to libel, but it is OK for ex-Trustee O’Malley to sue Emeritus Professor Karkhanis for publishing matters of fact is beyond our ken. In between their stints at saving the university from higher standards, perhaps Bill Crain and Barbara Bowen can help all of us understand.