RUSH: From the Wall Street Journal last Friday, April 5th. I missed it Friday. I was informed about this on Saturday afternoon. It’s a piece by David Feith. David Feith is assistant editorial features editor at the Wall Street Journal. “It sounds like the setup for a bad joke: What did the Wall Street type say to the college president on the golf course? Well, we don’t know exactly — but it has launched a saga with weighty implications for American intellectual and civic life. Here’s what we do know:
“One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life — especially ‘diversity’ — and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin’s freshman class.
“That’s where the dispute begins. In his address, President Mills described the golf outing and said he had been interrupted in the middle of a swing by a fellow golfer’s announcement: ‘I would never support Bowdoin — you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons,’ said the other golfer, in Mr. Mills’s telling. During Mr. Mills’s next swing, he recalled, the man blasted Bowdoin’s ‘misplaced and misguided diversity efforts.’
“At the end of the round, the college president told the students, ‘I walked off the course in despair.'” So the college president tells the guy this. He’s out playing golf and in the middle of his backswing — which is the biggest no-no in golf, is to chat during somebody’s swing. In the middle of the backswing, he says something, and this guy’s college was insulted twice by this Klingenstein guy, who was the potential donor. “Word of the speech,” this interpretation, “soon got back to Mr. Klingenstein.
“Even though he hadn’t been named in the Mills account, Mr. Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books to call it nonsense: ‘[The president of this college] didn’t like my views, so he turned me into a backswing interrupting, Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow.’ The real story, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, was that ‘I explained my disapproval of ‘diversity’ as it generally has been implemented on college campuses: too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference,’ coupled with ‘not enough celebration of our common American identity.'”
You guys are destroying the country. We all have a “common American identity” and you’re focusing on our differences and then demanding all this “diversity” be tolerated, accepted, and treated the same. Well, after Klingenstein’s “essay appeared, President Mills stood by his version of events. A few months later, Mr. Klingenstein decided to do something surprising: He commissioned researchers to examine Bowdoin’s commitment to intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity.”
So he paid for researchers for the National Association of Scholars to study this university and its curriculum and what’s been going on there, and the upshot of it is: Bowdoin College “has ‘no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation.’ Even history majors aren’t required to take a single course in American history. In the History Department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history — the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.”
So a history major at Bowdoin College is taught about the intrinsic discrimination against blacks, women, gays, lesbians, transgender, bisexuals. That’s all they are taught. A history major coming out of Bowdoin College is not taught for one minute about the American founding. There is not one moment of traditional American history taught, and this is just the history department. What’s taught is how immoral and unjust America has been since its founding and how its founding featured institutional racism, segregation, sexism, homophobia, and all that.
Klingenstein found this kind of thing in pretty much all the other departments he looked at, and he studied it for years and years and years.
Quite naturally, he decided not to donate to the school.
RUSH: Now, the students at Bowdoin College are required to take a year-long seminar as freshmen. They get to choose from 37 different offerings, such as “Affirmative Action in US Society,” or “the Fictions of Freedom,” or “Racism,” or “Queer Gardens,” or “the Sexual Life of Colonialism,” or “the Modern Western Prostitutes.” They have to take one of those courses, as a seminar, but they’re not taught anything about the American founding other than it was racist and immoral.