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It's tempting to celebrate the news that Dinesh D'Souza has been forced to resign his position as president of King's College in New York.

After all, D'Souza was the author of the maliciously inaccurate book about higher education, Illiberal Education (see my book The Myth of Political Correctness for an analysis of his many errors). And D'Souza recently got rich with the implausible“documentary” 2016 attacking Barack Obama using a third-rate conspiracy theory about anti-colonialism. And D'Souza has no qualifications for an academic job, let alone his reportedly million-dollar salary as president of a college.

Moreover, D'Souza's downfall comes as a result of the usual conservative hypocrisy, apparently having an affair with a much younger right-wing female blogger, who has written incoherently about “the feminists/liberals who intended to destroy and transform that sacred cornerstone of American society—the traditional family.”  

But as much as I hate D'Souza, I cannot agree with the idea that anyone at a university should be fired for engaging in alleged adultery.

King's College does have an extremely repressive speech code (pdf) that include this bizarre rule: “The King’s College promotes a lifestyle consistent with biblical teaching: sexual intercourse is a gift from God to be enjoyed within a married, monogamous, heterosexual relationship. With the exception of married students, sexual intercourse is not allowed on The King’s College campus or student housing....”

It's hard to believe that D'Souza meets this standard, but the fault lies with this repressive code, not D'Souza. No college should regulate the consensual sexual activity of its students or staff. D'Souza only got his job because of the right-wing politics of King's College and its failure to uphold high intellectual standards. But he should not be fired because of the failure of King's College to embrace the fundamental standards of academic freedom and the liberty of students and staff to choose how to live their lives.

Crossposted at Academe Blog.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (www.limbaughbook.com).

    by JohnKWilson on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 12:32:24 PM PDT

  •  Downfall? Why? (6+ / 0-)

    He's not a Democrat.

    IOKIYAR is the rule.  Never forget it.

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 12:34:50 PM PDT

  •  Actually, I think it's ok to have morality (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paul2port, Aunt Pat, tikkun, Rashaverak, chmood

    clauses for executives and other important representatives of any institution.  Their reputation affects that of the institution they serve.  

    What you do in private should be private.  If it's splashed all over the news, then your actions can and do negatively affect your employer.

    I have no problem with his being dismissed.  :)

    •  Bill Clinton? (0+ / 0-)

      Any institution? How about president? Would you support the impeachment of Bill Clinton (and conviction) for immorality?

      The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (www.limbaughbook.com).

      by JohnKWilson on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 12:44:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, he was an elected official. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, tikkun

        I think it takes an awful lot to pull an elected official out of office - like breaking the law.

        But I can see a college worrying about what prospective students might think if their president is caught in an extramarital affair.  Especially a religious institution.

        •  What about a teacher? (0+ / 0-)

          A school (public or private) might worry that a teacher's public affair (or other controversial activity) might hurt the recruitment of students. Should they be able to fire anyone for their public announcement of sexuality? What about firing openly gay professors because it might offend right-wing parents?

          The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (www.limbaughbook.com).

          by JohnKWilson on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:25:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe private organizations can do whatever (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ancblu

            they want in regards to their employment agreements as long as they are legal.  If people pay to use their services then that is who they are accountable to.

            Public organizations or any institution that uses any public funding should be held to a different standard because of the use of taxpayer dollars.  So at a public university, no, I would not expect a teacher to be fired because of an affair - unless it became a public relations nightmare that negatively affected the school.  I think there would be plenty of grounds there, but typically teachers and professors are not so high profile that anybody would be interested in a witch hunt.  Also, public institutions should not have biblical criteria to adhere to, so employees should be much more free in their personal expression.

            I don't think anyone should be fired for their sexuality.  I wish we could get GLBT people protected status.

          •  Here in Canada the courts say (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Crabby Abbey, ancblu, GAS, tikkun

            professional teachers, (and others in positions of authority in education), must meet more than the minimum standards of off duty behavior because of social  expectations that educators are positive role models.

            Professionally Speaking

            In Ontario, this expectation is a statutory duty of teachers set out in Clause 264 (1) (c) of the Education Act: "It is the duty of a teacher and a temporary teacher ... to inculcate by precept and example respect for religion and the principles of Judaeo-Christian morality and the highest regard for truth, justice, loyalty, love of country, humanity, benevolence, sobriety, industry, frugality, purity, temperance and all other virtues."

            Although critics of this clause argue, with considerable justification, that its language is archaic and that teachers cannot possibly fulfill the duty as written, it is nevertheless important to recognize its intent. Teachers are expected to maintain a high standard of conduct.

            Some critics of education systems believe that it is difficult to discipline or fire teachers. It is not.

            On the other hand, you example of firing a professor on the basis of homosexual orientation is prohibited here, primarily because our constitution and human rights clauses were written in the 1980's. Discrimination is prohibited on the basis of:  

               

            race
                ancestry
                place of origin
                colour
                ethnic origin
                citizenship
                creed (religion)
                sex (includes pregnancy)
                sexual orientation
                disability
                age (between 18 and 65 years in employment; 16 and 17 years are included in the occupancy of accommodation; 18 years and over in the other areas)
                marital status (including common-law,divorced, separated)
                family status (being in a parent-child relationship)
                same-sex partnership status
                the receipt of public assistance (in accommodation only)
                record of offences (provincial offences, pardoned federal offences) - in employment only.
            I am not trying to take the thread off topic, but trying to provide some perspective.

            Clearly DD agreed contractually to abide by behavior rules while with TKC. There's no further chance for legal remedy.

            He's monumentally stupid in so many ways, but it was his arrogance, thinking that the rules didn't apply to him, that got him into trouble. Fundamental mistake woudn't you say?

      •  let's be really pragmatic about this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GAS, tikkun

        First of all, Clinton's troubles occurred over a decade ago, so they are old news and no longer relevant.

        Second, removing an elected official from office entails contravening the will of the voters, and should only be done for the most serious of reasons.  Having an affair does not rise to the level of one of those reasons.  

        Third, D'Souza is one of our arch-enemies and politics is war by nonviolent means.  Anything that takes him down a notch or three is good news.  Anything that trashes his credibility is good news.   And what we should be doing with that stuff is taking it and running with it and using it for all it's worth.

        That's not a double standard.  It's what you do in war.  

        "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

        by G2geek on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 02:11:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They are a private institution... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crabby Abbey, paul2port, tikkun

    and can codify any morality clauses they want and can fire anyone that violates them.

    Do you really believe private institutions should not have the right to govern themselves as they see fit, so long as it does not violate federal EEOC statutes? Being an adulterer is not a protected class.

    •  Morality vs. Law (0+ / 0-)

      I never suggested that the government should step in and require that they not fire D'Souza. I think private institutions should have the right to govern themselves. The question is whether they are deserving of critique. Do you really believe that private individuals should not have the right to criticize colleges that violate the fundamental principles of intellectual life?

      The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (www.limbaughbook.com).

      by JohnKWilson on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:21:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The real irony, of course, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paul2port, Gemina13, ancblu, GAS

    is that D'Souza was at the vanguard of attacking hate speech codes as infringements of the First Amendment. Now we have D'Souza losing his job due to a morality code that is, quite arguably, an infringement upon First Amendment rights.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 12:59:35 PM PDT

    •  The Amendments to the Constitution apply to the (5+ / 0-)

      behavior of agents of the federal government and, by extension, the agents of some states in some instances. While the ultimate intent may be to promote respect for individual human rights, there is no guarantee that respect will be forthcoming from anyone.
      The Constitution does not apply to individual behavior. In setting up private corporations under the auspices of the state, we might insist that corporate charters commit that it's officers are bound to respect individual rights, but that's not the case. There's not even an obligation to be honest.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:10:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  nope ... (7+ / 0-)

      The First Amendment protects individuals right of expression from governmental actions ... not private ones.

      Free expression and association are most certainly, however, concepts that are central to academic liberty and rarely receive any weight or credibility in those colleges and "universities" that elevate a religious or ideological purpose above all else.  And therein lies the real irony of D'Souza now reaping the whirlwind from the very winds he has sown.

      The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

      by ancblu on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:16:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The spirit of the First Amendment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nowhere Man, Gemina13

        should apply to all colleges, and D'Souza himself attacked private colleges that are perfectly free to set any rules they want to.

        The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (www.limbaughbook.com).

        by JohnKWilson on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:19:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  With respect, (0+ / 0-)

          First Amendment principles are really a subset within a larger philosophy that values intellectual liberty, freedom of conscious and rights of association and that are the proper hallmarks of an academic tradition far older than our U.S. Constitution.  

          However much respect there must or should be demonstrated for the "spirit" of the First Amendment ... it is that "spirit" that is far more hallowed and established within the academic context and tradition than the First Amendment -- which is an unnecessarily modern and purely nationalistic reference point in this broader discussion.

          The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

          by ancblu on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 02:23:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree totally (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ancblu

        My point is not that I think that hate speech codes are an attack on the First Amendment; it's that that was D'Souza's argument.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:54:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Speaking of irony.... (0+ / 0-)

      Denise Odie Joseph II's latest blog entry is entitled, "Give a Guy Enough Rope and He'll Hang Himself[....]"

  •  In this case I am laughing my arse off.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paul2port, tikkun

    ...because he is disgusting and dangerous and deserves his downfall.

    Moreover, in this case, I agree with the clause, because HE WOULD NEVER EVER HAVE GOTTEN A SIMILAR JOB AT ANY OTHER UNIVERSITY THAT DIDN'T HAVE SUCH "MORALS" AND POLITICS.

    My take on dd from Aldus Shrugged:

    (Once again, I apologize to those who have seen this passage before.  I have a personal axe to grind with the little fucker, and he really gets under my skin, I must admit.  So, here it is again, for my pleasure and hopefully for yours as well).

    "...‘Darvish is an immigrant, too.  I mean, we all are, and he can speak out all he wants:  his opinions are as valid as the next guy’s; even Billy’s right next door.  But he wasn’t born here.  He didn’t come here till he was 17.  I just want to know where his opinions come from.  He very smugly acts as if he’s got the social pulse of this entire country, and he thinks he’s more American than our president.  But what feel does he really have for America, except from like-minded people he listens to, or maybe TV, or from books?’....
    ....  There’s one company that publishes this crap and assures they’re best-sellers.  They publish all the conspiracy and birther shit.  Darvish fits right into their business model.  He actually claims Obama’s anti-colonialism, and anti-American stances came from his father, who was a Kenyan Socialist or something like that.  And the publisher treats his word as gospel!’

    That’s pretty much his standard blather.  He writes entire books, hypothesizing on the possibilities that our president is actually a loyal Kenyan Socialist – or is it a Kenyo-European anti-Colonialist, which is apparently the most insidious strain of the nasty hybrid Socialism and Fascism, or something like that.  Who the hell knows what he even thinks?  That’s the whole point:  it’s just crap from his own head, with no basis whatsoever.
    ‘He can write anything he wants and a small slice of people will slurp it up as truth!’  I said.  ‘He claims our president is bent on destroying America and all we stand for:  The strawman/bogeymen fantasy presented as fact.’

    ‘Yes,’ Dessa added, quickly, ‘I read a review of that garbage.  He uses the racial/cultural angle to claim that Obama’s father must have exerted a tremendous influence on his son, even though he was raised by his mom, and he only met his dad once after he was a baby.  But, by god, since his dad was a Muslim, and a Kenyan, somehow Barack himself MUST follow in his father’s path.  I swear, he subtly paints a picture of our president as a Kenyan witch doctor, or something.  He knows what he’s doing!  Dog-whistle Darvish…’
    ‘Dog-shit Darvish is more like it.  Dessa, if I ever write a book, you’ll know what my opinions are; I promise you that.  But there are opinions based on fact, and then there are opinions just based on belief, or from la-la land in your head.  So then just be honest and call it a novel or a comic book.  There’s tremendous responsibility that comes with free speech.  For an educated writer not to ensure people know the difference when he blathers, is disingenuous and irresponsible; and an insult to his readers.  He must think they’re all stupid.  I’m sick of people with a modicum of intelligence or power treating me like I’m stupid!’
    ‘Oh, I agree, and I believe that people like him cannot possibly know how petty and jealous they look, or they would be truly ashamed.’  Dessa added, ‘What’s Darvish’s next historical book going to be called:  Close Your Eyes and Imagine What If…?’
    ‘There’s a lot of money in that garbage, but that doesn’t make it right or noble.’  I was sick of his whole act, a microcosm of the general discourse, and our acceptance of pure conjecture and pure lies.  He’s just another lying son of a bitch who knows better but acts as if he doesn’t.  Get in line behind your extremist friends, asshole, and make some more blood money off of conjecture, fear-mongering, and utterly dangerous disrespect.  You’ve found your niche market in this whole new anti-Obama industry, so go and drain some more blood.  It’s Capitalism.  Go pretend you offer something real.  Be a proud American, and remember, Americans have always supported their president when push came to shove - or at least they never delegitimized him - especially during wartime.  Do you not understand that?..."

    (Yes, he "inspires" me enough to actually include a whole chapter about a character that conflates him and Corsi, whom I called Darvish Corsica).

    (asshole)

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. ***Buy ALDUS SHRUGGED on amazon, and ALL royalties will be donated directly to Democrats in contentious Downballot races. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:05:13 PM PDT

  •  Fake person fired from fake college....... (8+ / 0-)

    You live by the fake, you die by the fake.

    There is no substance to D'Souza, his "job" and who/whatever he fucks.

  •  If you lie down with dogs ..... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paul2port, Crabby Abbey, ancblu, tikkun

    He knew what kind of sanctimonious hypocrites he was working for. That they turned against him when his philandering was exposed should not surprise him.

  •  Live as a dick (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, Crabby Abbey, ancblu, tikkun

    die by the dick.

    Or something like that. I'm not too good at looking up quotes.

    Can't stand Dinesh. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

  •  This should be mentioned on Real Time... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crabby Abbey, ancblu, tikkun

    ... with Bill Maher this week.  Is it OK to pray that Bill mentions it, even though he's an atheist?

    I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

    by Hey338Too on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:26:10 PM PDT

  •  Wow, a couple of things about the object of... (3+ / 0-)

    ... D'Souza's affection:
    She was apparently married on December 30, 2011
    She was a Santorum backer, but:

    While some of us are still nursing heartbreak over Santorum’s defeat or the great Doctor’s Man of La Mancha campaign, unfortunately for you WAPO, we on the Right have already rallied around a man we’ll make, with however many misgivings, our guy. I was already going to vote for Romney because my husband told me to.
    She had a website called:http://www.ideniselustafter.com/... which is currently "currently undergoing maintenance".

    Dinesh knows how to pick a winner!

    I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

    by Hey338Too on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:33:56 PM PDT

  •  If King's College (0+ / 0-)

    fails to promote freedom of academic thought and personal association because of fidelity to the language and purpose of its own Charter, is it not disqualified from seeking or deserving protection under those very precepts?

    And to be clear ... this is not a critique of all conduct-based standards for continued association with a college or university.  Termination for ethical lapses such as plagiarism or sexual involvement with a student by faculty, as examples, go to the core of academic integrity and it is therefore entirely appropriate.

    Had D'Souza's dalliance or relationship involved a King's College student or subordinate member of the faculty or administration, the only issue would be D'Souza's rank hypocrisy and deserving comeuppance.

    In my view, however, King's College, and others of its ilk that elevate a religious or ideological view above all else, do not qualify as legitimate academies of higher learning and therefore do not merit the respect and time-honored protections that real colleges and universities deserve and must enjoy.

    But King's College cannot uphold the principles of liberty in thought and freedom of association as necessary and proper academic virtues and therefore it cannot be expected to do anything but terminate the association of D'Souza in violation of those virtues. Whatever postures to the contrary, it is truly not an academic institution and he is truly not an academic -- and neither should be judged by standards applicable to those particular creatures.

    The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

    by ancblu on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 02:05:22 PM PDT

  •  It isn't a typical college... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ancblu
    I cannot agree with the idea that anyone at a university should be fired for engaging in alleged adultery.
    The King's College (not to be confused with King's College in the UK) is not your typical college/university.  It isn't even a typical private school.

    When an explicitly Christian school requires faculty and staff, including D'Souza, to sign a Statement of Faith, all parties are effectively agreeing upon the standards by which they will be measured.  The same thing occurs at seminaries and other religious institutions.

    D'Souza actions are not in keeping with the ethics espoused in the Bible, which he acknowledged as the inerrant "supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks."

    To be specific, he wasn't fired; he resigned.  Nonetheless, it is abundantly clear that no one can serve as a Christian apologist, a "family values" spokesman, or a Christian school president while performing these actions.  He agreed to a higher standard when he took the job, and his resignation was near-inevitable when the story broke.

    (Incidentally, his fiancee's online presence--Facebook and website--apparently stated that she was married in December 2011, and referred to her husband as recently as April 2012.  From newlywed to sharing a hotel room as the fiancee of the still-married D'Souza in less than one year?  That is an indefensible situation for a leader espousing Christianity as an integral part of their job description.

    •  Agreed ... (0+ / 0-)

      How a seminary comports itself is entirely different than how a college or university should, and it seems there is much confusion on this distinction ... starting with the KC charter and its former senior-most executive.

      The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

      by ancblu on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 02:31:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not coincidence, but (0+ / 0-)

    it could be they decided to take a hard look at whether they were getting their money's worth out of him.

  •  I don't care (0+ / 0-)

    Normally such clauses would be abhorrent to me.  But because D'Souza is such an amazing douche nozzle---I've decided not  to lose any sleep over his predicament or really think much about him, at all.  Also, I've decided against throwing him a bake sale to make up for his lost wages.

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