The Playwright and the CUNY Trustee

May 12th, 2011 | Posted by Sociology Students Association in Miscellany

Barbara Bowen in the New York Times:

Tony Kushner gets it right, again. The most important thing to emerge from the controversy about his being honored by CUNY is the need, as Mr. Kushner elegantly says, for “vigorous and consequential debate” about the conduct of one trustee and the board of trustees as a whole.

The country’s most important urban public university deserves better than a board packed with political appointees chosen without regard for their understanding or even commitment to public higher education. A board with the authority that comes from deep knowledge of academia would have been less likely to remain silent in the face of Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld’s abuse of his position.

Let this embarrassing episode be the occasion for a rethinking of the process through which CUNY trustees are chosen. Mr. Wiesenfeld, who has repeatedly damaged the university with his disregard for academic freedom and disrespect to the faculty, should step down immediately, and Albany should pass legislation to reform the selection process so that CUNY gets the imaginative, independent trustees it sorely needs.

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