Ethics Dunce: Columbia University

A Columbia professor charged with teaching his students the bewildering topic of quantum physics chose to employ performance art to send the message that conventional assumptions would be an impediment to their learning. Using projections, music, and himself as a performer (he stripped to his boxers and ate a banana before curling into a fetal position), Professor Emlyn Hughes got his students’ attention and tried an innovative approach to teaching. Now the university says it is “reviewing” his methods, with a spokesman saying that “Universities should have a climate of academic freedom though classes should stick to the subject matter.”

Translation: “Columbia gives lip service to ‘academic freedom,’ but it is perfectly happy to do what it can to discourage creative and controversial teaching experiments by publicly announcing an investigation whenever that likes of Gawker starts making fun of us, and the university certainly is hyper-sensitive to breaches of political correctness, since Professor Hughes employed gratuitous violence in his performance by having Ninjas impale stuffed animals.” Continue reading