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.