“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

UMM Chancellor Scolds PZ Myers Publicly

Catholic News Agency Reports that UMM Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson wrote a response to their inquiry in regard to the actions of PZ Myers:

I have given you her quote, then what she really meant.

“I deeply regret that the postings have been so upsetting to so many people and that this has, in turn, caused some individuals to question the values of civility, respect, academic inquiry and critical thought that are the hallmark of this institution.”

Translation: We have no control over this whack-job, his views are void of any academic value or discourse, please... please, I beg you, do not take him as the standard of our University.

"She said personal and intellectual engagement at the school is done in “in the framework of intellectual and critical inquiry, not from a platform of name-calling and derogation.”

Translation: PZ Myers offers no intellect or critique of value in his recent tantrum. It was more like a pre-schooler acting up. She even references the term "name-calling" to convey the intellectual esteem they have for Myers. This term is something a teacher uses to write home about when disciplining a second-grader. (It is obvious they are fed up with his antics.)

"In her message, Chancellor Johnson voiced her expectation that faculty and staff “interact and engage in a civil and respectful way in the workplace, and it is my hope that this demeanor would extend beyond the boundaries of their University responsibilities and commitments.”

Translation: PZ Myers did not live up to the University's expectations of personal character off the clock. They are embarrassed by him.

I give Ms. Johnson strong credit. I don't think this correspondence could have been more diplomatically direct with the University's outrage of this professor's actions.

Now what is the purpose of this harsh correspondence? It could be an offering to the Catholics that complained about him, I guess. A sort of, I understand your outrage. Or it is a message meant for Myers to let him know through the media that he is on thin ice? Or, it is laying the groundwork for his dismissal down the road?

But a correspondence like this would never go out without the President of the University's blessing and text approval. So why is he not signing it personally?

Maybe it is such a bad situation, he is politically distancing himself from it and getting someone else to do his dirty work. Maybe he is letting the Chancellor issue it because it is her school, although the outrage has been seen nationally -- not just at her campus. Or... maybe he has to look impartial so that when he hands down the final discipline it looks like Myers had a fair hand.

Daniel Wolter, the News Service Director in the Office of University Relations at the University of Minnesota, issued an e-mail to CNA saying, "no disciplinary action has been taken against Professor Myers.” Here is the insight. This sentence is written completely in the present tense. It does say, "no disciplinary action WILL be taken again Professor Myers." It says no action has been taken...yet... It is all about the nuances, but if you look for and recognize them, it tips the University's hand.

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