A Sense of Proportion

The chancellor at Indiana University-Perdue University Indianapolis has apologized for accusing a janitor there of “racial harassment.”

Some are no doubt unsatisfied with the university’s apology, thinking it too little, too late. I think we should not get ahead of ourselves. We must maintain a sense of proportion here. Calling for the resignation of all key figures involved, or anything like that, would be inappropriate.

No, if the university were serious about redressing its mistake, not only would every official responsible for the accusation, the lateness of the apology, or its obvious insincerity be asked for his resignation, but all of the following measures would be implemented as well:

Both the janitor’s love of learning (which prompted him to read the book which prompted the accusation) and the university’s gross betrayal of its very reason for existence would be recognized. The janitor would be offered full tuition, living expenses, and a sizeable supplemental stipend in order to permit him to study for the degree of his choice at some other, better university.

All administrative and teaching staff at the university would be asked whether the university’s mistake was understandable. If one answered that the mistake was forgivable, or doubted whether the janitor’s treatment was inappropriate in the first place, he would be asked for his resignation. If he refused to resign, his name would be posted on a public bulletin, announcing his hatred of liberal values, of reason, and of justice.

The university would make a large donation in the janitor’s name to the heroic Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Since seppuku is, unfortunately, not likely to become an accepted practice among American university officials, I suppose something like the above might largely satisfy my sense of proportion.

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