Posted on November 26, 2018

Why Do College Administrators Lie About Race?

Robert Weissberg, Unz Review, November 24, 2018


Why, then, do so many university administrators, including presidents at elite schools, tell bold-faced lies regarding race-related issues? (We assume that campus administrators know that reality differs from what they assert and this, technically, makes them liars) On the advice of counsel, I’ll prudently skip naming names but these lies are all too familiar: we don’t discriminate on race, affirmative action admittees are academically equal to non-AA admits, there are no racial quotas, African Americans are not disproportionately found at the bottom of class rankings, diversity enriches campus intellectual life, students of color struggle academically due to invisible white privilege, unconscious faculty bias, retention will work if we just supply adequate remediation, and on, and on.


Such lying cannot be a psychological pathology — over a decades-long career chronic dissemblers would never move up the academic greasy pole. Nor can this mendacity be dismissed as socially essential “little white lies,” for example, attributing a colleague’s death to heart failure, not alcoholism in an obituary.

Let me suggest that high-level mendacity can be best be explained by today’s academic incentive structure and, conversely, truth-telling is a liability save among very private conversations with trusted colleagues. Now for the Great Principle of PC Academic Advancement: only would-be administrators who boldly lie in public can be trusted since their future utterances are totally predictable; on the other hand, who knows what a truth-teller might say? Lie-flavored PC Kool-Aid is the “energy drink” that helps ambitious academics advance their careers when they opt for administrative positions. The truth-telling Dean is a loose cannon, and nobody wants a loose cannon making important decisions.

{snip} When was the last time a campus had to call in the police because an administrator had lied about illegally admitting unqualified blacks?


Keep in mind that private heresies are irrelevant; nobody cares about private options provided the PC gods are honored in public. The public profession of the PC faith is so easy and so gratifying on today’s campus that only a fool could resist, and who would hire a fool as school President?

And speaking of committee search requirements, what committee would list “courage” as a job pre-requisite? Hard to imagine the sentence, “Successful candidates must be willing to face hostile groups and forcefully defend the university’s core intellectual mission even if physically threatened.” {snip}

Moreover, climbing up today’s administrative ladder entails serial lying with winning job candidates telling the most outrageous lies in the shortest time. Makes perfect sense since recruitment committees typically include representatives of campus grievance groups whose support is non-negotiable (grievance groups exercise a so-called “Polish Veto”). So many aggrieved constituencies, so little time and only a second-raters would just allude to the Queer Studies Department and stop at that; the winner in this mendacity derby would insist that Queer Studies is vital to the university’s historic mission and as President he/she would increase its funding. The upshot is, of course, that schools will hire only the best serial liars — no amateurs need apply.

The University of Chicago’s Robert Maynard Hutchins once opined that his job was to provide football for the alums, parking for the faculty and sex for the undergraduates. Today, perhaps second only to fund-raising, the university’s president’s paramount job is to keep the peace, and this often entails lying with great sincerity and this is especially true if grievances are inconsequential. {snip}

Nor are there disincentives for lying on today’s “post-truth” academic environment. It would be professional suicide for a professor to call out the school’s president on the claim that affirmative action admittees are just as qualified as other students. Everybody has to “get with the program” and “mere” professors who object will pay the price. Sad to say, provided the mendacious administrator remains in the administrative world where dishonesty is socially sanctioned, he/she enjoys diplomatic immunity. In fact, a would-be top administrator can probably misrepresent past accomplishments but need not worry that former colleagues will tell tales. {snip}

Clearly, ridding the campus of the PC Pox will require hiring administrators who relish honesty but how do we measure this trait and convince others that telling the naked truth is vital to a university, even if this brings raucous discord? {snip}

Assuming that current universities are worth rescuing from the PC plague, it is essential that truth-telling and courage be made integral to the administrator’s job description. Alas, given all the obstacles, particularly today’s robust market for clever liars, we must start modestly. {snip}