University Business October 2019 - 8

OnTopic

Q&A with Anthony Kronman

I'm trying to
restore the idea
of the academy as
a community of
conversation.
of inquiry in which faculty and students
are engaged with the back-and-forth
exchange of guest speakers and listeners.
The academic environment they
enjoy provides a level of safety in their
exposure to difficult, or even dangerous,
ideas in the common pursuit of the
truth.
I'm trying to restore an older idea,
which I think still has validity, and
that is the idea of the academy as a
community of conversation.
The last movement that you discuss
is memory, which has been in the
headlines recently with the removal of
statues and renaming of buildings.
That's part of a larger phenomenon that
has many more serious expressions.
For example, here at Yale, the
decision to rename Calhoun College was
carefully studied over a long period of
time, and it divided the campus.
At the end of the day, though, I
believed that it would be better to
keep the name than to change it, for a
number of reasons.
The most important being that
keeping the name of Calhoun College
shouldn't be understood as a way of
continuing to honor John Calhoun,
the man, but rather as a way of
remembering Yale's own past and its
fitful and incomplete effort over many
generations to come to terms with its
own institutional legacy-that a college
was named after Calhoun, and that
this was accepted without much real
reflection for some time.
8 | October 2019

You suggest that it's better to
keep what's there and maybe add
commentary or even another
opposing monument.
There would have been many ways of
preserving the name Calhoun College,
while surrounding it with commentary
and memorials of the kind that reflect
that our values today are light-years
distant from those of John Calhoun.
Why wouldn't it have been possible
to keep the name and make Calhoun
College the country's preeminent
center for the study of the history of
antebellum America, or of race in
higher education throughout the whole
American experience. I think this was an
educational opportunity that was missed
because of political pressure to change
the name of the college.
What do you hope will result from
publishing this book?
An open debate will start about the
issues the book raises. My deepest hope
is that the debate, which the book has
already begun to stir, is one that can be
conducted out in the open, in the light
of day, without rancor or name-calling
or the kind of dismissive treatment that
has too often in the past made it difficult
or impossible for views to be aired.
Of course, I would be a fool if I
hadn't known in advance that certain
things in the book would provoke a
furious reaction.
And yet at the same time, I thought
that many of those same things that I
knew would be so provocative were not
far off the path of reasoned, moderate
beliefs. Unfortunately, many people
don't see it that way.
I hope my view, whether you accept
it or not, will become again a part of
the accepted normal discourse on our
college and university campuses around
the country. We'll see.
Tim Goral is senior editor of UB.

PEOPLE WATCH

After leaving Fontbonne University
to lead Caldwell
University (N.J.),
Nancy Blattner
will return to the
Missouri institution
to become president in July 2020.
At Caldwell, Blattner launched
an annual Belize mission trip and
participated in the first excursion.
The latest weeklong installment
involved six students rebuilding a
playground, painting a fence and
playing with children.
While vice president and dean
for academic affairs at Fontbonne,
Blattner initiated and procured
funding for the university's first
endowed chair. She was also
previously an American Council
on Education Fellow.
Other people news:
* Chancellor Gary Miller of the
University of Wisconsin-Green
Bay has become the 18th president of The University of Akron
(Ohio). Miller is Akron's fourth
leader since 2014.
* Heidi L. Tracy has been selected
as vice president for advancement
of Central Michigan University.
An independent advancement
consultant, Tracy also served as a
vice president at Texas Woman's
University and as executive
director for the TWU Foundation.
* President Steven Currall of the
University of South Florida has
joined the Moffitt Cancer Center
Institute's board. He previously
served as the provost and vice
president for academic affairs at
Southern Methodist University
(Texas). -Steven Blackburn

UniversityBusiness.com


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University Business October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business October 2019

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