Saturday, February 07, 2004

Interesting Artifact

Actually, this whole post will probably only be interesting to Ben, Lauren, and me. Or maybe just me. It's a part of our recent Claremont series, so beware.

Anyway, believe it or not, I ran across this tonight while on official business (my late-night citechecking run). It's an LA Times article on the appointment of Pamela Gann to the presidency of CMC. Here's a snippet:

"Her appointment set faculty members abuzz, but not because she's the first woman to lead the 52-year-old institution that went coed in 1976 and later changed its name from Claremont Men's College. Rather the conservative professors unearthed evidence that she might be--gasp!--a Democrat.

. . .

For the record, Gann confirms she's a registered Democrat. But, she said, 'I separate out my personal politics from my work.'"

It's funny how controversial her appointment was. It was all anyone could talk about. Jack Stark was such an institution, and to be replaced by a Democrat who isn't even an alum was just too much to take. Plus, the next year our US News ranking dropped from 9th to 17th. Women! Or, alternatively, Democrats! Or, better yet, Democratic women!

I kid the Democratic women; they make up much of this site's audience.

Here's more:

"Gann was drawn to Claremont McKenna because, in her words, this and the four other undergraduate colleges in the Claremont consortium 'is the most important place working on undergraduate education west of the Mississippi.'

In her 11 years as Duke law dean, Gann said she discovered the best educated law students came from highly selective liberal arts colleges, not from big research universities.

'So that's the place to be, not a place like Duke,' she said."

Ouch. That's harsh. But I must admit, Ben and I were just discussing this tonight. Liberal arts colleges are way overrepresented at U of C Law. CMC is particularly well-represented - I believe there's six of us attending at the moment. Does this make us artsy-smartsy kids a higher breed? Well, no, not in my experience. I've been impressed by many a university kid thus far, and even the occasional Duke alum (Yes you, Greg. I flatter him because he's a reader. Really should've read that supplement for Con Law though. Goodness knows all the rest of us do. Or would, if we owned it). At least we liberal arts kids can always pretend we're the master race. A few years at a liberal arts college teaches you how to play pretend like a pro.

Back on track: the Duke comment makes me wonder: what will Gann say when she leaves CMC? After all, rumor has it she wanted the University of Michigan presidency, which opened up last year when Bollinger went to Columbia. I can imagine her story: "All I said is that Duke sucks, and Claremont is the best place to be west of the Mississippi. Michigan is east of the Mississippi and not Duke. Sure, all of Duke's (supposed) weaknesses apply a fortiori to Michigan, but Michigan has a better football team. It even arguably has a better football team than CMC, and at least Michigan's kids aren't fascists." Curse you, pretend Gann!

I could stop the post here, but how could I? The Times hasn't even quoted Pitney yet!

"Inspired by England's Oxford University, Claremont McKenna and each of the prestigious schools in Claremont--Pomona, Pitzer, Scripps and Harvey Mudd--offer the cozy academic environment of a small college, but the intellectual vibrancy of a large campus. Students can select classes from any other institutions.

Claremont McKenna, with about 1,000 students, advertises its education as the training of future business and political leaders. 'A good fraction of our students go on to law school,' said government professor Jack Pitney."

I've heard that.

Why not more, just for the heck of it:

"Claremont McKenna's reputation as a conservative school comes in part from some of its most visible alumni: Republican congressman David Dreier, former Assembly GOP Leader Rob Hurtt, top aides to Kenneth Starr, Newt Gingrich and Pete Wilson.

But [Ralph] Rossum and other faculty members point out that Claremont McKenna is not replete with conservatives--a survey conducted by students showed that most faculty members are Democrats. Instead, he said, its conservative image rises from the fact that unlike most elite colleges, its faculty has more than just a few token conservative professors."

My challenge to everyone (aka Ben or Tom): name another school, UG, PhD, Law, or otherwise, besides CMC and U of C Law, whose faculty isn't dominated by Republicans (so no Hillsdale or Ave Maria) and yet has a critical mass of them (let's apply the Michigan system and say about 30%). The time is 3 AM. Go!

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