The primary blame for the incivility and downright stupidity we see on university campuses lies with the universities’ trustees. Every board of trustees has fiduciary responsibility for the governance of a university, shaping its broad policies.
Unfortunately, most trustees are wealthy businessmen who are busy and aren’t interested in spending time on university matters. They become trustees for the prestige it brings, and as such, they are little more than yes men for the university president and provost.
If trustees want better knowledge about university goings-on, they should hire a campus ombudsman who is independent of the administration and accountable only to the board of trustees.
The university malaise reflects a larger societal problem. Mansfield says culture used to mean refinement. Today, he says, it “just means the way a society happens to think, and there’s no value judgment in it any longer.”
For many of today’s Americans, one cultural value is just as good as another.
Williams admits that trustees are no the only problem: “Many university faculty members are hostile to free speech and open questioning of ideas,” he points out. “A large portion of today’s faculty and administrators were once the hippies of the 1960s, and many have contempt for the U.S. Constitution and the values of personal liberty.”