Defending Bob Kerrey from New School Crybabyism

Bob Kerrey is under attack at New School “University” as their current president and I am leaping to his defense.  Bob is a good son of Nebraska and he doesn’t take any guff and he isn’t good at having to put up with b.s.  Those Midwestern values have served him well as a Medal of Honor winning Navy SEAL who left a leg in Vietnam, as Governor of Nebraska, as founder of multi-million dollar businesses and as a United States Senator. Those chits, however, are not enough to placate the crybaby faculty and whimpering student body at New School — and the problems with Bob’s leadership isn’t Bob it is in the anachronistic and infantile “university” he is trying to drag into the next century of learning.


I love and respect Bob Kerrey; I do not like or even have an ounce of sympathy for, the New School crybabies.

If Bob were president of Columbia University or NYU or NJIT or Rutgers, he’d be doing really well — because those institutions recognize genius and celebrate greatness — but Bob is stuck at New School where nothing of substance is ever really earned or honored and they’ll never forgive him for not bowing to their every whim or granting their every desire:

In the two months since Bob Kerrey, the president of the New School, received overwhelming votes of no-confidence from the university’s full-time faculty, he has met nonstop with deans, students, faculty members and trustees and has scheduled a series of dinners with small faculty groups to try to rebuild his support.

But the efforts at reconciliation have apparently not gained much traction, as evidenced by a faculty meeting on Tuesday in which one professor asked the room: “How do we impeach the guy?”

The emergency faculty meeting had been called to “exchange ideas and voice concerns,” but it turned into a large venting session, with professors taking turns at the microphone denouncing everything from Mr. Kerrey’s search for a new provost to what some called his autocratic style.

New School, if you don’t know, is a sort of “feel it in my pants” place to learn. There isn’t much distinction or rigor in the joint and — when I was temporarily involved with them — courses were published in a catalog and anyone could “enroll” and take a course of study there.  New School was less an institution of higher learning than a place to hang out and complain about the world and your miserable place in it.

I was asked to teach at New School and after having my “catalog entry” edited to the point of non-recognition and then having to deal the royal attitude of the department head and then trying to deal with an office staff that were perpetually angry and ill-besotted with life in the Big City, I cancelled my course before the catalog was printed.

I feel for Bob Kerrey.  I know he is bound by his past successes while being currently surrounded on all sides by miscreants waiting to cut his throat with their polished hatred.

Bob Kerrey doesn’t back away from a knife fight — he’d rather go down bloody than give up to lesser principles and valueless people he does not respect.

Bob Kerrey must continue the good fight at New School.  The institution needs him much more than he needs them — and that is the beauty in what Bob realizes, and the students and faculty do not — and that selfless understanding is the mark of a great man and an exceptional mind and that’s why Bob Kerrey deserves our support and none of our disdain.

Fight for Bob Kerrey’s vision of New School. He’s stuck in a Panopticon in which his every move is being mitigated and pre-judged.  Get in touch and shout your support for his battle.  Help him blaze a bright path forward even though he’s encircled by lurking, dark elements hoping at every turn to tear him up and burn down the very foundations of the school he leads.

9 comments

  • I’m so sorry to read this about Bob. I have liked him. He was a good senator. I remember him dating Debra Winger. You’re right that he may be too good for that place, david. I do with him well.

  • I wish him well too, Anne. I agree Bob has had a great life. He doesn’t need the New School. But the New School needs him even if the faculty and students are unable to realize that obvious fact. Kerrey is a builder and a visionary and one day he will be honored as such by the very institution clamoring for his decline.

  • Wow. That sounds crazy. I will definitely throw in my support to him.

  • Good, Gordon!
    The students went after him a while back for being a “war criminal” based on his heroism in Vietnam. Their whole protest turned my stomach. They have no idea of the what or the why of his experience — yet they still sought to define him as a rogue killer.

  • Thanks for this article.
    I’m sure you’ve heard about the rukus today!!
    I wanted to find some backstory and your article is a great help. Thanks
    Doc Waller

  • Hi Doc —
    I was astounded at that ridiculous “sit-in” at the New School — and it proves my point again about the Crybabyism of the New School students:

    Kevin Dugan, one of the students inside the cafeteria and the senior news editor at the The New School Free Press, said in a phone call that the students decided to leave after the university’s embattled president, Bob Kerrey, agreed to four demands: amnesty for students participating in the demonstration; student participation in selecting a new provost; creation of a committee on socially responsible investment, with student representation; and the replacement in other New School buildings of space that will be lost because of the demolition of 65 Fifth Avenue, including a library and a 7,000 square foot reading room.
    At the beginning of the protest, students had said they would not leave the cafeteria unless Mr. Kerrey and other administrators resigned. But as the occupation grew in size and stretched into a second day, a new consensus seemed to emerge, with some students saying it was it unlikely that Mr. Kerrey would agree to such stipulations and instead advocating goals that they said had a better chance of success.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/new-school-students-end-dining-hall-sit-in/?pagemode=print
    The fact that their first demand was “Amnesty for the protesters” tells us everything we need to know about their motives: They were in on the sit-it for their own self-interest and not the greater benefit of the school. If they truly cared about making the university better, they would’ve willingly sacrificed their own well being if it meant the greater good of the school would’ve been served.

  • FYI:
    For all the New School Crybabies posting comments on this article disparaging Bob Kerrey, you’re welcome to do that if you use your real name and a real email address as per our Comments Policy:
    http://panopticonic.com/comments-policy.html
    If you feel so strongly about Bob, use your Real Name and a real and identifiable email address — preferably your New School email address.
    We don’t tolerate the Anonymous Coward here — and yakityyakityyakity@hotmail.com as an email address — makes us only mock your cowardice with the disrespect your comments deserve.

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