It’s hard to believe that former Army General and top CIA spook David Petraeus, a brilliant military tactician and architect of counterinsurgency operations, didn’t see it coming — an unruly band of college kids waiting for him to walk to his seminar so they could shout such astute, nuanced criticisms as “scumbag,” “war criminal,” and “disgusting imperialist.”
Nonetheless, it happened in public, and it happened on film.
So CUNY, the college that has employed him for a single dollar to teach a seminar this fall, released a statement via Facebook.
Statement from Dean Ann Kirschner:
“Our university is a place where complex issues and points of view across the political and cultural spectrum are considered and debated in the hopes that we might offer solutions to the problems in our world. In order to advance reasoned debate on such issues, it is important that multiple points of view be heard.
Great universities strive to connect their students with remarkable leaders and thinkers so students can examine a variety of ideas, debate them, and form their own opinions. Those perspectives find expression through discussion in and out of the classroom.
We may disagree, but we must always do so in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. While the college supports the articulation of all points of view on critical issues, it is essential that dialogue within the academic setting always be conducted civilly.”
Surprisingly, despite having come under fire for hiring the retired General — having to not just once, but twice reduce his salary, starting at $US200,000 and ending at one dollar — neither CUNY nor Petraeus seemed to expect a student body protest in arguably one of the most liberal cities in the Union.
New York Daily News noted of the protests since his hiring that “adjuncts make $US3,000” a class on average.
Kieren Lalor of The Daily News writes, “Celebrity hires like Petraeus may be fun at administration cocktail parties, they don’t fit with the mission of a public university.”
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