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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  In case you missed it | Unsavory ethnic studies
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Wednesday, November 21,2012

In case you missed it | Unsavory ethnic studies

We’re going to guess that very few of you were shocked when you heard that the Republican-dominated Board of Regents criticized a proposal for a new Ph.D. degree in ethnic studies at CU-Boulder. Or that two right-wingers voted against a proposal for an ethnic studies degree at the Denver campus.

For those of you who were surprised that our flagship university’s governing board questioned such degrees on Nov. 14, here’s a little background.

You may remember a guy named Ward Churchill. He was that professor who got canned because of what he said about 9/11 — er, scratch that, we mean because of the research misconduct investigation prompted by what he said about 9/11.

Anyhoo, details, details.

Well, Mr. Churchill’s department was ethnic studies, which just happened to be one of those lefty fields that national ultra-right-wing groups like the American Council of Trustees and Alumni was urging its Republican cronies on higher ed governing boards to stamp out in favor of good old [white] American disciplines like Western civilization and critical thinking and civics, subjects that any proper, God-fearing [white] patriots should be taught, by gum.

Heck, even when the witch hunt against Churchill was just getting under way, when the regents were bending over backwards to apologize to the nation for hiring someone who had the gall to suggest that American foreign policy might have played some role in the cause of 9/11, former Regent Tom Lucero took the opportunity to bash ethnic studies.

He called for a thorough analysis of the core curriculum to determine “whether or not it is necessary to eliminate courses and departments of questionable academic merit,” and everyone knew that ethnic studies was among the units he was referring to.

So now that it’s been almost eight years, there are still questions about ethnic studies, and we’re supposed to believe that politics has nothing to do with it?

Prove us wrong, right-wing regents. Prove us wrong. Especially you old, white Republicans. Approve this Ph.D. program and legitimize a field that is long overdue in deserving legitimization, at least at CU-Boulder.

DON’T FIRE EMBREE

Wow, that was convenient timing, CU releasing those study findings that firing one’s college football coach doesn’t make teams better.

Maybe it’s just coincidence that the 1-10 Buffaloes are getting buffaloed every week and people are calling for Coach Jon Embree’s head.

After all, the research was started in 2008, so we can’t reasonably assert that this was a hastily thrown together study that was planted by the university’s public relations department in an effort to call off the dogs that are hounding Embree.

We would never suspect such a thing. Just really, really good timing.

The study, which focused on college football teams that replaced their coach for performance reasons between 1997 and 2010, showed that firing the coach resulted in a small but short-lived improvement in team performance. (Hey, at this point, we’ll take anything.) It also showed that the records of mediocre teams that won about half their games in the year before canning their signal-caller actually became worse the following season.

Hey, that’s good enough for us. Give Embree an extension. He may just be the latest in a long line of football coaches who needed several years to get the ball rolling.

Either that or CU needs to shell out some cash for a big name that can attract some top recruits.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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