Rutgers’ Nutty (and Racist) Professor

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Enough with the Bill O’Reilly-Sylvia’s flap! Who cares what he thinks about a) anything – even when he is trying to be complimentary about us; and b) a restaurant?! A restaurant where even the owners weren’t all that put out by what O’Reilly said. Why should they be? They received millions in free pub over the last week.

The FOX Talk-show host’s comments do not have one iota of an impact on me, you or anyone else in America. However, the blatantly racist remarks made by a Rutgers professor this week not only besmirch the image of a university on the rise but are a slap in the face of every non-white athlete at the school. In an article published in the New York Times, English professor William Dowling, one of those nutty professors who believes the rise of athletics at a university automatically  means the decline of intellectual elitism and, well, the fall of civilization as they want it to be, said: “If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that’s fine. But they give it to a functional illiterate who can’t read a cereal box and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That’s not opportunity”

Now, here’s where it gets good: “If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”

This is someone who is responsible for educating our youth? God help us – or more specifically, our youth.

Not only are Dowling’s comments racist, they’re stupid and WRONG. In May, the NCAA Academic Progress Rate report, a calculation of graduation rates at institutions, ranked the Rutgers football program seventh in the nation among Division I-A schools. Ahead of them were only Stanford (Go Cardinal! Sorry, alum-bug pinched me), Navy, Duke, Rice, Boston College and Air Force.

It doesn’t quite sound like the young men who have elevated the Scarlet Knights to national prominence over the last two seasons are having any trouble reading their cereal boxes.

It took long enough for someone to speak out about this madness. On Thursday, Rutgers president Richard McCormick (Has this guy had a YEAR or what?!) called the comments “inaccurate and inhumane.” In a statement issued by the university, McCormick acknowledged the racist tone of the comment. “It also has a racist implication that has no place whatsoever in our civil discourse,” he said.

Like O’Reilly, Dowling said his comments were taken out of context. (I agree with O’Reilly, frankly; but Dowling is delusional) He said he was merely answering a question related to minorities. he said: “If someone has a way to answer that question without mentioning race, I would like to hear it.”

No word yet on whether Dowling will be allowed to continue infecting, uh, teaching young minds.

In the 1960s, was actually arrested protesting in support of the civil-rights movement. Sorry, professors, your freedom fighter cared has been revoked.


20 thoughts on “Rutgers’ Nutty (and Racist) Professor

  1. Ah, but this Rutgers guy has nothing on a Berkeley nutter who used to teach Antho while saying African Americans were intellectually inferior. By the way, O’Reilly and Juan Williams also use broad stereotypes to justify their own positions.

  2. Daryl says:

    Remember Dexter Manley. Remember Bob Love.

  3. Joshua says:

    I’m failing to see what’s so “blatantly racist” about the comments here. Someone asked Dowling about the argument that athletic scholarships are a way of helping minority students get an education. He essentially responded that if the goal is really to help minority students, make sure the money goes to the ones whose priority is to do well in school.

    Obviously, there could be some overlap between these two groups, but the basis for scholarship should be academic, not athletic – that’s his point. As for the “functional illiterates” comment, exaggeration/generalization aside, I think it’s pretty clear he’s talking about the select group of academically challenged athletes who get grandfathered into college (and through it) because they can play a sport. I don’t see how ANYONE could read this comment as a general statement about minorities.

  4. R. Pick says:

    Professor William Dowling, who represents Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has again raised the topic of tenure, which means “permanent employment”. It also means it is almost impossible for someone with tenure to be fired. Tenure is given to professors who have worked at a university for many years. At some schools, the professors must distinguish themselves, while at others simply reaching a certain number of years of employment will ensure tenure. This system has been in place for many years; however, university’s now wrestle with the merit of tenure.

    Supposedly, tenure protects a professor from losing his or her job for saying something their respective university might now agree with. This was very necessary in the 60’s when many professors sided with students during sit-ins and other types of rallies, that were meant to gain equality. But over the last few years we are seeing professors such as Dowling, who are using tenure as their shield to spew hate, and stupidity.

    Through his comments, Dowling meant to disparage African-American student athletes; however, the irony here is that Dowling, himself, actually comes across as ignorant and seemingly uneducated. Not only were his remarks lacking in fact and logical reasoning, they were also not well thought out. If his position as a university professor was unknown, one might assume these were the comments of an uneducated man from the Deep South. The fact is athletics in college provide an opportunity for thousands of kids of “all races” to attend a school of higher learning. Although they are not featured on ESPN, many of the student-athletes graduate and go on to have successful careers, off the playing field.

    Besides, if Dowling believes that even one athlete has reached college without the basic academic fundamentals, shouldn’t his criticism be leveled at his peers on the high school level, or at the educational system that would allow such a thing to happen?

    Dowling should have considered his thoughts before he made them public. Nevertheless, whether he did or not is irrelevant to the issue of tenure. Although professors, who are, and should be opinionate, do need some sort of protection from the institution, the institution which has values to uphold, also needs some sort of protection from the professors.

    If it wasn’t for tenure, the very athletes that Dowling is criticizing would probably be “reading” about his suspension or firing. Regardless, one foolish educator doesn’t mean all educators lack common sense, just as one or two illiterate student-athletes don’t mean all student-athletes are illiterate.

    More and more we are seeing professors with questionable ethics and motives that express themselves in a way that not only embarrasses their institution, but also themselves. It’s too bad they’re not smart enough to see that.

  5. blueollie says:

    I think that you are overreacting. The fact is that someone (of any so-called “race”) who is at an elite level of a major spectator sport will be given a scholarship for college, whereas a smarter but non athletic prospect might not.

    To me, that isn’t right.

    Of course, I applaud Rutgers for the graduation rates of their sports teams, but there are many, many schools who simply don’t care about the educational mission of their schools.

    And frankly, I think too many people push college athletics under the guise of helping minority students, when in fact the vast, vast majority of minority students with academic potential are not elite level athletes!

    Sorry, but my concern is more for the poor African American kid who might take all day to run the 40 yard dash but can score an 1000 on his SAT. There are many more of these out there than there are elite athletes.

  6. bwunderlick says:

    I don’t quite get what your point about tenure is R. Pick. The fact you say tenure is a problem because this professor isn’t fired or suspended for something he said in one newspaper story proves why tenure is needed. I don’t agree with the prof on everything, but I also don’t think what he said was racist, but okay, its debatable. I also don’t take the comments of the university president and the football coach as purely motivated by the desire for racial harmony and not attempt to deflect the actual criticism to something else.

    Professors who have proved themselves should have SOME protection from saying unpopular things that might be true. Like, say, (gasp!) emphasis on college athletics might hurt the institutions academic goals.

  7. LP says:

    I honestly think the man makes a point, but the issue isn’t race here. It’s simply ridiculous that academic institutions today favor athletes over intellectuals. I’m busting my ass to maintain a 3.8 GPA and the most I get is $1000 a year. Meanwhile you have these meatheads who are just barely pulling off a 3 and they get a free ride for throwing a ball. And let’s not forget where the majority of problems (ie: drinking, assault, drugs, etc) come from on nearly any campus (hint: not the chess club).

  8. -kf says:

    “If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”

    I happen to agree with the dear professor. No one should receive a scholarship based on race to begin with, but if the pro-affirmative action tooliemucks cannot have it anyway, institutions should ensure that opportunities are given to those who work their asses off to achieve something.

    Whether it is some pimply faced white kid picking his nose at the counter of McDonalds or some black kid shooting up a row of houses, schools should not be guilt-tripped into subsidizing the delinquency of what passes as their student base.

    You are all free to disagree with me, but Rev Al Sharpton is also free to sit on a tack.

  9. Demonweed says:

    I have to agree with critics of this entry. The professor’s comments only invoke one racial stereotype — a broader version of “white guys can’t jump.” Suggesting that minorities dominate major college athletic programs touches upon a racial theme, but is it truly racist?

    When it comes to matters of intellect, the man’s own words imply a belief in minority scholarship. After all, he expresses certainty that minority students can be found at the library after school. I don’t see anything wrong with that sentiment.

    Also, a little context may be in order. High education in America is spiraling down a very filthy drain. I abandoned my degree because I saw an illiterate man get his B.S. . . . and he wasn’t even a student athlete! I could forgive (though only after considerable condemnation) letting someone skate through university without actually learning much if it is to appease a seven-figure donor or even to add some oomph to a highly competitive athletic program. Watching it done just to collect the financial aid dollars generated by keeping an extra warm body on campus literally turned my stomach.

    What I’m getting at with all this is that I believe the professor deserves a little slack based on the idea that he might be generally furious at declining standards apparent around the country, if not also at Rutgers. Nobody should be getting a domestic sheepskin if he or she thinks one of the branches of American government is “corporate” or the New World was discovered by Pilgrims in 1776. Legions of these non-scholars are obliterating the very meaning and purpose of higher education. If a distraught academic does not choose his words carefully while reacting to that, I say (within reason) let it slide.

  10. R. Pick says:

    My post has less to do with the actual comments and more to do with the system that allows such remarks to made in comfort. It seems that our society has become inundated with racism from so-called bully pulpits. My point is that persons who choose to spew hate disguised as concern should be held accountable—especially if their salaries are paid with tax dollars.

    I also believe that if Dowling wanted to be taken seriously, he should have put his thoughts into a detailed paper that contained pros and cons of the current system as well as a detailed plan for solving the problems he claims exist. Simply saying “If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school,” doesn’t cut it in my opinion, and it certainly doesn’t cut it in the world of academia, where ideas are processed through papers and not off-the-cuff remarks.

    As far as the basis of the remarks, I won’t get into how money earned from a successful athletics program can help keep tuition costs down and provide state-of-art labs. However, I will say that I find it perplexing why if there is a system, which allows both rich and poor to get advantages that might not be available to the middle-class, it’s always the poor who are attacks and held to pubic ridicule. An athlete who may not be the best or the brightest, but can earn six-figures for his or her school should be prevented from attending school. Evidently these kids are destroying the very fabric of our educational system! There are thousands of kids who cannot past the basic entrance exams for almost any mid-level school; however, they are fortunate enough to have parent who can donate six-figures if that child is allowed into that school (many of these kids go on to become politicians). But I guess these kids aren’t affecting the educational system in a negative way.

    If Dowling really cares about minorities and his institution, why didn’t he write a paper and then open the topic for debate? Why did he launch into a tirade that was sure to anger people on both sides of the issue? Why didn’t he present his thoughts to his peers in the proper context, where an intelligent debate could ensue?

    When those in the world of academia avoid the scrutiny of their peers by addressing the public directly, it usually means they don’t have the facts and precedence to back up their opinion.

  11. joseph g says:

    r. pick,

    I don’t understand how you could write so much while being so ignorant. Go to the New York Times online to find the source of the quote, then read the article where it talks about the BOOK that he wrote on the topic. You are taking a quote out of contest while claiming that he should have submitted his criticism in the form of a paper. If you had actually checked the source of the quote, rather than mindlessly responding to sound-bites, you would know that he did not write a PAPER on the topic, but rather a BOOK. His book is not about the pros and cons of big time football, but rather how big time football cons us into thinking that progress is being made for DIV 1A universities.

    Secondly, Rutgers has yet to make a dime on football. In fact, every year the state dumps millions into Rutgers football, while our profits never exceed spending. All profits go right back into football.

    Lastly, these football players earn their 2.7 average gpa by getting personal TA’s in nearly every class to basically give them the answers to the test. I know, because I have spoken to a Rutgers football player who said, “You’d have to be a fucking retard to fail these classes.”

    You should really think before you add your uninformed view to this topic. I wonder if you are one of those hate mongers in the administration who is trying to take Dowling down. You seem to have put a lot of thought into something that you clearly have read nothing about.

  12. R. Pick says:

    I did read the article, and this debate reminds me of part of the Bell Curve debate—books versus papers. In the world of academia, controversial ideas such as the ones offered by Dowling, a college professor, should be presented in papers. The professor’s peers then debate these papers, and if they ideas are generally accepted, then the paper itself is published. Books (non-textbooks) are generally written for mass consumption and unlike papers, they are not required to present both sides on argument.

    As I said, if Dowling really believes his position is the correct one he should have opened himself up to the scrutiny of his peers and after garnering a consensus, he could have presented his findings to his and other institutions. And if he did attempt to go the academic route, he has obviously failed in his effort to convince his peers that his position is the correct one. So, Dowling now presents his case to the public, and actually comes off as a former geek with an ax to grind against athletes, black athletes in particular.

    I will say that Dowling was smart enough to say something controversial (albeit racist) in an effort to draw attention to his book. It worked, we’re all talking about it, and many people will go out and buy it. But in a couple of weeks the controversy will die down, and in the end, nothing will have been accomplished—other than Dowling earning some extra cash.

  13. bwunderlick says:

    I agree with Joseph G, or I share his wonderment over how R. Pick can write so much willfully ignorant stuff on this stuff. Instead of actually thinking about what Dowling is saying, he “suggests” tenure should be questioned, or Dowling should talk to the a handful of people at a conference instead of the public, or he’s a racist, or he’s a moneygrubbing academic (because we all know that’s where the big money is: writing books about how athletics are destroying universities. cha-ching!)

    If you really did read the article, you’d see why R. Pick’s concern trolling over the quality of Dowling’s work and arguments are so misplaced. Dowling’s book is about how he and his fellow professors and students have been trying, for a decade, to speak the truth about the effects of high-level sports programs in universities. And its an uncomfortable truth, but there has been NO evidence, NONE, that many of the claims made by administrators and coaches about how sports brings in money or even helps the great majority of the athletes it brings in get meaningful college educations that helps them later in life. In fact, most research shows the opposite!

    Suggesting Dowling’s book is similar to the Bell Curve is another slander that makes it seem Dowling is making some highly dubious argument about race and education. He’s talking about how the demands of Div. 1 athletics is hurting not only the university, but is failing the kids it is supposedly helping. Unlike what R. Pick said earlier, these kids aren’t getting 6 figure salaries (or giving them to the school, I didn’t quite follow that), they are being used and 99% of them will never make it to the professional level.

    It’s okay though, don’t worry about this stuff. Dowling’s a racist, or he should really be in the ivory tower and not talking to the actual public. And he should be fired. Oh, and his book is just a way to make money. By the way, did you know he’s a racist?

  14. LP says:

    I really don’t think race is the real issue here. Sure, the man said “If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school,” but the term “minorities” could easily be replaced with anything:

    “If you want to give financial help to whites, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”
    “If you want to give financial help to gays, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”
    “If you want to give financial help to midgets, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”
    “If you want to give financial help to Harry Potter fans, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”

    He’s not attempting to imply that minorities are stupid. He’s simply stating that giving an academic “boost” to unqualified football players is ruining the universities in this country.

    Hell, you could even go read his comments about this whole thing:

  15. R. Pick says:

    So, I call Dowling’s comments ignorant and you respond by calling me ignorant—pretty creative, you must be the smartest boy on your street.

    Moving on, I never compared Dowling’s comments to the Bell Curve; I compared the debates, which focused on papers meant for academia versus book meant for mass consumption. The former must be factually correct, while the latter can be filled with opinion and conjecture.

    If you don’t believe Dowling’s remarks were made in an effort to draw attention to his book then you are quite naïve. As to the question of whether or not the comment are racist, they are racists in that they are perceived by minorities to be such. Whether or not whites consider them be is irrelevant. I once called a deaf woman “hearing impaired,” and she became very upset. She said she preferred to be called deaf. Although it wasn’t my intent to offend, I did; therefore, I immediately apologized, which was the right thing to do. If it offends, then it is offensive, and I believe Dowling doesn’t care who he offends as long as his point is made. Also, my point about tenure was that I wonder if Dowling would have made the same remarks if he wasn’t protected by his tenure.

    For the white readers who don’t believe these comment are offensive, go to your school or place of employment and loudly announce that you don’t believe that many of minorities are qualified to be there, and “if” minorities must be there then they should get the ones who are in the libraries and churches.

    Let us know how well that works out for you.

  16. LP says:

    “For the white readers who don’t believe these comment are offensive, go to your school or place of employment and loudly announce that you don’t believe that many of minorities are qualified to be there, and “if” minorities must be there then they should get the ones who are in the libraries and churches.”

    I think you’re still missing the point. He’s not stating that minorities are a bunch of incompetent morons. He’s simply remarking that if you want education and scholarship (“scholarship” used in this sense as a lifestyle) to improve, it needs to be by scholarly merit. Affirmative action fails to do this.

    Hey, why don’t you go to your school or place of employment and loudly announce that you believe that many of the are not qualified to be there? See what kind of reaction you get then.

  17. LP says:

    *many of the (insert anything here)

  18. John Shade says:

    R. Pick,

    you are beyond incredibly stupid. at least, the previous incarnation of you that posted here was. these sentences are an ad hominem, but it makes me feel good to level against your brand of stupidity. waugh laughs as I do at your long-winded ridiculous chains of reasoning. I hate it, but not you.

    Dowling let time vindicate him. Mulcahy let time condemn him. the universe unfolds as it will regardless of if you let it or not.

    Long Live William. Long Live Linda.

    –adam falter

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