Save Classics at Pittsburgh

Another day, another department at risk. Sigh. Mary Louise Gill writes:

I write to alert you to a dire situation in Classics at the University of
Pittburgh (my previous home before coming to Brown University). The Pitt Administration proposes to cancel graduate admissions. This would not only affect the Department in a detrimental way but would also destroy the interdisciplinary Program in Classics, Phiosophy, and Ancient Science and weaken Philosophy and History of Science.. More than 1000 people have signed the petition so far. We should overwhelm the admisnitration with objections! Here is the statement I wrote when I signed the petition: The University of Pittsburgh administration tried to make such a move once before, and on a broader scale (when I was Chair of Classics and Chair of the Humanities Council in 1996-97). The effort failed, though the lack of
administrative support resulted in the mass exodus of good faculty, including most of the excellent Department of Linguistics. I learned at the time that Pitt Classics was the most cost-effective department in FAS at Pitt, making about 50% more for the University than we cost. The graduate students contributed substantially to that success. What financial value can there be to this recent move and what are its academic implications? It destroys Classics, destroys the internationally-renowned Graduate Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science (CPAS), and will weaken the highly ranked Departments of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science. Humanities Departments are cheap and they are the backbone of the University. The Administration should foster these departments and replace positions in Classics, including the position in ancient philosophy, the funding for which was withdrawn in 2008-2009. The current plan will reduce the University of Pittsburgh to mediocrity, an outcome foreseen by many commentators on this petition and by many colleagues at Pitt. Here is the petition, and I hope thatmany of you will sign and forward it to others.

Meat-Eating and Male Critics

As many of you know, the Sunday Times has had a contest to write the best essay defending meet eating. It came to a conclusion this weekend, and the winners are announced.

We mentioned before its all-male panel of judges. And in fact the ethicist recognizes concerns about diversity, in a rather odd context:

Reader Responses

The contest is sexist and racist

The panel [of judges] consists of all white men. . . . And so the cycle of prejudice continues in which white male elite perspectives dominate the production of social facts. LORI GRUEN, A. BREEZE HARPER, CAROL J. ADAMS

The contest is harmless

This is a panel of five, for heaven’s sake, for a meaningless contest. How diverse can it be? Why should anyone care how diverse it is? ETHICSALARMS.COM

So we decided to go to the Gruen, Harper and Adams piece to see why they thought diversity would be an improvement.

One fact is that one is starting out from a biased position with all-men panel, since our culture identifies men with meat-eating. Secondly, A group of white western men are going to bring partial and fairly shared perspective to what is in fact a global problem. Third, when one picks for fame – as the ethicist said she was doing – one tend to create a circle which the men close.

Interesting reasons, hardly meant to be inclusiveexhaustive (thanks, SH). What do you think?