In the Slums of Academe
by Revilo P. Oliver
ACCORDING TO a despatch from the United Press, published in the Portland Oregonian on 16 April and doubtless other newspapers, a jury in Atlanta awarded $2,500,000 to a young woman, Jan Kemp, formerly an instructress in the University of Georgia, who was fired from her untenured position because she objected to the almost universal practice of diploma-mills, which hire big hunks of muscle, chiefly Black bucks, to advertise the joint by winning athletic contests, although the animals are functionally or entirely illiterate, and then forge academic records to make them seem eligible for what is called “amateur sport” in a bad joke at which some members of the public are too naïve to laugh.
The verdict against the University brought to public attention some interesting details about such slums and the vending of fraudulent diplomas, which is one of the largest and crookedest businesses in the United States. One little shyster on the faculty denounced poor Miss Kemp for being so “provincial” as to think that there was any place for honesty in the pseudo-academic racket. It is quite true that if she had not been a young teacher, holding the lowest rank in a university, she would have had sufficient experience to see that there was no such place, except in the reactionary minds of a few old fogeys and of stupid romantics who still believe in learning and culture, although they live in a modern Judaized world.
Although Miss Kemp made twenty-three calls and wrote two letters before taking action, she was never admitted to the august presence of the head goon, who has now been forced to resign. He is reported in the press as having defended the University by saying, with childish solemnity, “If the ‘athletes’ leave us being able to read, write, communicate better, we have not done them any harm.”! Years ago, I knew an attorney who had acquired a reputation and fortune by defending persons accused of crime. He once told me, “You cannot believe, you could not imagine, just how God-damned ‘dumb’ those moral idiots are.”
It is pleasant to see the University of Georgia get a small bit of what it deserves, but we must not lose our perspective. It has been decades since any reasonably intelligent observer could have illusions about the very expensive publicity stunts staged by the big diploma-manufacturers and called ‘athletics,’ appropriating a name given such contests when they were carried on by undergraduates for their own amusement and at their own expense, without interference or meddling by the college, which in those far-off days was an educational institution, privately endowed, and not a bleeding cancer on the treasury and taxpayers of a state or other political unit.
The real corruption of the universities is not in their dishonest advertising stunts, but in their dishonest and fraudulent classes, in which putrid propaganda is purveyed as “science” and “scholarship.” But that is an entirely different subject.
Commenting on the scandal in Atlanta, Dr. Robert Kreiser of the American Association of University Professors suggested that “the enormity of the situation at the University of Georgia is only the tip of the iceberg,” and there are rumors of investigations of the many institutions that are equally corrupt. If the investigations take place, they will probably produce tons of spoiled paper, endless gabbling, and limitless lying, but no real result.
This particular aspect of the ‘educational’ slums that taxpayers finance is likely to be corrected soon, but not by a sudden outbreak of honesty. One has only to project the probably ineluctable future of a bankrupt, demoralized, and besotted nation, now occupied by its implacable enemies.
The academic goons had better make haste to profit as much as they can from the fatuity of the populace while the boobs still think they are prosperous. The Ice Man cometh.
* * *
Source: Liberty Bell magazine, October 1986