Tuesday roundup: hellz to the FAIL, or CU booze & loser cruise, and who’s screwed by CSU-Pueblo

colorfulcoloradoHowdy, friends, and as the sign says, “Welcome to Colorful Colorado!”  Heck’sapoppin’ out here on the high plains, where the cold and the snow apparently will never cease this winter.  Oh, well:  I’ve got my horse to keep me warm–here’s hoping that you have someone to keep you warm, too.  Some in-state news and views you can use (or at least laugh at):

  • What the hell is going on in the CU-Boulder Philosophy department?  Here’s a story from last weekend in the Boulder Camera; the Inside Higher Ed summary; and today’s op-ed in the Denver Post called “What Exactly Went On in CU Philosophy Department?”  A brother-in-law yesterday alerted me to the fact that this story made it onto Gawker.  Is anyone really surprised that alcohol may have been involved?  Obvious advice for proffies:  if you’re having more than one polite drink with a grad student or multiple grad students, you have a problem, which is that you’re a pathetic loser, in addition to whatever alcohol or sexual harassment problems you’ve made for yourself.  Go find someone your own age and size to play with.
  • What the hell is going on at CSU-Pueblo?  (H/t Jonathan Rees @jhrees.)  Apparently, no tenured or tenure-track faculty will need to Xerox their CVs anytime soon, but $290,000 of adjunct and VAP faculty will be cut, in addition to a dean of continuing education and a $100,000 security contract with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department (!).  However, “[t]eaching loads of the current faculty members will be readjusted to cover the classes of the eliminated positions.”  Naturally.  Will they leave the SWAT team equipment and maneuvers to the regular faculty, too?
  • Clive Thompson says Hello, Millennials, and welcome to Generation X’s former role in the media stereotype landscape.  I’ve been saying this for years on this blog, but I’ll let Thompson speak for me as we’re exactly the same age:  “MTV was frequently blamed for turning Xers into ‘a post-literate gene­ration,’ as a Random House publicist sniffed. And if their moronic, ironic pop cul­ture wasn’t grating enough, they were constantly whining about their economic lot, having graduated into the recession of the early ’90s. A typical headline in The Washington Post snarled, ‘Grow Up, Crybabies.’ Now, I’m 45 years old, which places me right in the middle of Generation X. I remember reading these sneering op-ed pieces all the time.”  And now it’s your turn, Millennials!  Enjoy.  You’re still full of pi$$ and and vinegar, and haven’t yet curdled into middle age yet like Thompson and me.  Remember:  they only say mean things about you because they fear you.
  • From the Department of What the Hell:  As some of you noticed, Historiann is now on Twitter at @Historiann.  I am still learning and plan to incorporate its use slowly, but I’ve been gratified to see all of the followers who have appeared, and that as of yet (nearly 1 week into my experiment) no one has yet called me an “a$$hole!” (#lifeboater), but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.  As some of you know, I have long been a Twitter skeptic, at least for me.  I understand its attractions–it’s a really easy way to set up a social media account, and you don’t have to worry about design or making very many decisions in using it.  You are, famously, limited to Tweets of 140 characters or fewer, so nuance and complexity are pretty much right out, however.  I was a little dismayed that Twitter felt the need to email me every single time one of you clicked “follow.”  Other than that:  can anyone tell me how to change the wallpaper on my Twitter page?  Some people have really cool backgrounds, and I want to have something at least as stylish.
  • Finally:  stay tuned for some really happy news from chez Historiann!  My long nightmare of failure to find external support and professional validation for my current book project may finally be over.  As they say:  DEVELOPING. . . WATCH THIS SPACE!

20 thoughts on “Tuesday roundup: hellz to the FAIL, or CU booze & loser cruise, and who’s screwed by CSU-Pueblo

  1. Re Twitter: you can opt out of the email notifications. Go to “Settings” and then “Email notifications.” “Settings” and then “Design” gets you to the place where you can play around with your page’s look.

    I just dropped off my main Twitter account due to finding it completely overwhelming and draining — but will follow you from my new, quieter, private account.


  2. To change your Twitter background wallpaper: go to the gear wheel in the taskbar (upper right), click on “settings,” then click on “design” on the new lefthand sidebar. Enjoy!


  3. 140 makes you think a lot about important statements. They should impose it on Facebook too.

    Drinking, graduate students and faculty rubbing shoulders happens. University faculty are expected to be human.

    University leaders, as is the country’s, go with the time. It’s abuse everyone except the rich time.


  4. I recommend that people read the external report on Colorado’s philosophy department. The actual harassment is less significant than the pervasive failure of leadership, both within and outside of the department. Non-harassers could have done much more to insist upon a professional atmosphere, for one thing.


  5. The outside report on the CU Philosophy Dept. is an amazing understated document. But I am surprised at how many commenters at CHE etc. are upset about the recommendation that they stop having alcohol at departmental functions. This is just a no brainer. Do they need alcohol to do their f-in jobs? Seriously? A completely dysfunctional department but oh my god don’t touch their booze.

    I’m biased, of course. All of the most egregious incidents I’ve witnessed have involved serious drinking.


  6. I’m completely with you, Anon. I don’t think drinking has to happen at all, and I certainly don’t think it’s wise to drink with students. (RE: EngLitProf’s comments about maintaining a professional atmosphere!)

    I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that most U.S. adults who drink have a dysfunctional and/or dependent relationship with booze. Maybe it was always there, and I never saw it before? (I haven’t changed my drinking habits–still drink lightly, although more thoughtfully.) Maybe I thought it was a youthful indulgence? Now that I’m in my 40s, it seems a lot less cute and a lot more like people need treatment.


  7. As a female faculty member, the idea of going out drinking with my grad students (half of whom are male) and then hitting on them? It’s just … totally bizarre and alien. And then justifying it as an important part of the intellectual life of the department? Maybe I really am a humorless bluestocking who just needs to lighten up. Lol.


  8. Maybe I really am a humorless bluestocking who just needs to lighten up. Aren’t we all of us here?

    This is just more evidence about how conservative academic departments and academic culture really is. The notion that one might want to rethink the professionalism and wisdom of drinking heavily with colleagues and grad students is a bridge too far for some of our male colleagues. Doesn’t seem all that crazy to me, but then again, I neither need nor want to date students, so I guess I just can’t relate.

    Katherine, I think I have to conclude that the entire state of Colorado has a major drinking problem. (But CU Philosoproffies ain’t helping.)


  9. Hey, if you’re on Twitter, we can have a real old-fashioned tweetup at OAH! (or… barn dance, or, horse lassoing, or something). My program got lost in the mail, and their conference app keeps crashing on me, but not before I noticed that your panel is right after mine.

    Re: alcohol, I am not a big drinker and I have been continually surprised at how much of adult life seems to revolve around talking about alcohol. Not just drinking it, but talking about drinking it, taking pictures of it, and so on.


  10. Welcome to Twitter! I am on Twitter the way I’m on Facebook – I drop in from time to time. I think of it as stopping in at a nice bar or cocktail party, full of interesting conversations, but I don’t have time to be there all the time. I’m most interested by the links people post, less in the conversations. But maybe that’s because I haven’t done enough to get it.

    As for drinking, there are lots of different ways people drink. I have been interested in recent pieces about having a conscious relationship to alcohol. In that way, it’s like food – our culture has an unhealthy relationship to it. (So maybe we just have an unhealthy relationship to consumption?) Like you, I’m thinking about it more, trying to work out how to avoid what I see as the twin poles of American behavior, moralism and unthinking excess. Like really good food, alcohol can be a source of pleasure in a range of contexts. Fortunately, at work it’s very hard to serve alcohol, so we only serve at big events, or as part of dinners. Though I do have a colleague who has the cardboard container for a bottle of Jameson’s on hir desk, and I think it’s part of hir “I’m cool and rebellious” persona. But it makes me a little queasy.


  11. Isn’t it Philosophy that has a big, alcohol fueled reception at its annual meeting so that those on the job market can get hit on by a larger pool of menz who may or may not be hiring? I recall reading about this at some point, maybe in the CHe , but probably on a blog


  12. Well, philosophy the institution has some problems when it comes to behavior in general. Regarding your earlier comment about “a bridge too far for some of our male colleagues”: I don’t know if “our” colleagues are the issue here, Historiann. I read several blogs that deal with philosophy, and I feel as if I just took a trip in a time machine: many philosophy departments out there are the way English departments (and history departments?) were thirty or forty years ago. For one thing, there persists the conviction that brilliance and boorishness go together.


  13. A-HAHAHAHA!!!! Well said.

    I think you’re right: Philosophy has been a holdout against the women’s movement & remains a very masculine bastion among the humanities. If you read any of the feminist/women’s philosophy blogs, they will blow your hair back with stories that could be in Mad Men episode (or a Dickens novel) that were set nevertheless in the 21st century.


  14. Our college is undergrad only, so that automatically puts a bar up against most campus drinking, but even at all-adult dinners we are required to have a bartender to serve the beer and wine, and I believe that the hard stuff is banned. Now, I enjoy drinking (had a nightcap of a nice rye last night after a long day), but I am really taken aback by professors who insist that alcohol is a necessary requirement of professional interaction. And can we get rid of the idea that rotten behavior is acceptable among academics? I like to think that younger historians have cleaned things up a bit, but we’ll see what happens as we get older. I still do see a fair number of historians (older men all) who really want to live in a boys’ clubhouse with no annoying rules about proper behavior. Did they just never grow up?


  15. From what I’ve read of CU-B’s philosophy department, there’s been a history of extremely inappropriate behaviour around social events with alcohol, and, as the report suggests, abstaining from serving alcohol at department events is an easy and obvious way to signal that the department is changing, which has to be their top priority. The amount of anger that suggestion’s generated is incredible.

    I don’t think there’s a problem with alcohol at receptions in my own department, and I would feel disappointed if for some reason alcohol was removed as it would seem really infantalising.


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