Should I go or stay?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, May 28, 2020.

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  1. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Do what you think is best for your educational future.

    However, I think you (and others) need to drop the delusion that "Falwell is not Liberty University." The two are inextricably linked.

    It isn't really a normal process that a university president (even its founder) gets to handpick his own son as his successor in that role for him to serve in perpetuity. This is not just a situation where a university has an outspoken and controversial president. This is a situation where the university is treated as a family business and the university president clearly has no fear that his position can be challenged.

    That said, I think leaving at this point might actually be one of those principled stands that ends up screwing you more than having any effect on Falwell.

    FWIW, I think race plays into this decision more than we all care to admit. If a white guy with a buzz cut proudly proclaims his Liberty University degree then there are segments of the country where he might as well be flying a confederate battle flag in the eyes of locals. For a black alumnus, that assumption is not going to be the case. It may spark some conversation, but no matter what stupid thing Falwell says or does, having Liberty on your resume won't have you labeled a racist in the same way said hypothetical white student would be.

    I don't know what to think of that, to be honest. But it's there. I used to not believe in white privilege. Then I was confronted with it face to face and I see that these assumptions really affect how we navigate our society. I'm loathe to call it a privilege but the fact is that a black conservative seems to be viewed more kindly than a white conservative by many liberals. Again, I don't know what to do with that or even if its true or if its just a mirage I see from my limited perspective, but it's something to consider as you consider which school you want to put your name to.

    Personally, I think the greater power would be from Liberty alumni standing up afterward and saying "This guy doesn't represent us" rather than leaving Liberty behind altogether. But that's a principled stand that others cannot afford just as much as you might not be able to afford to walk away at this stage.
     
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  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I do not deny that the two are linked. However, I maintain that he's not Liberty. The university more than Falwell and a lot of the faculty, staff, and students do not support his ideologies. As a recent Liberty doctoral grad shared "it is possible to love Liberty and be opposed to the president's rhetoric, they are not mutually exclusive ideas." If I was to agree with your logic, I could easily regard the United States as trash because of Trump. I know Trump is not the U.S. This country is more than Trump because not everyone shares his ideas. It is no different when it comes to Falwell and Liberty.

    A recent Ed.D. graduate of Liberty shared a similar sentiment. In collaboration with a departing LU staff, there is a preparation of some type that will see Liberty students speaking out against the president. So, no, we won't be silent. Our voices must be heard!
     
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Actually, it's very different. The United States of America was not founded by Fred Trump with Fred Trump serving as its leader until his death before passing the baton to his son.

    A more apt comparison, I would say, is trying to argue that North Korea is not the Kims and vice versa. While there are many people who may disagree, with the current structure of governance, the two are fused and need to be treated as one.
     
  4. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    It can still hurt a black person if the receiver of that resume doesn't know the sender is black, particularly when the person has a name that is racially ambiguous. And even though they may not be considered racist, there are other controversial views that could be attached to a black person just the same.
     
  5. not4profit

    not4profit Member

    Sooo many great thoughts on this thread. I think y'all have really given some great considerations.

    Just to keep things in perspective, I doubt if most hiring officials at the schools Chris would apply to pay enough attention in general for Liberty's issues to impact job applications. I just don't get that vibe. Sure, if he was going for big name, well ranked schools, it might be a problem. But, Liberty's ranking would have put a ceiling on the level of school he could work for anyway (me too). Like Chris, I have applied to several teaching jobs at low ranking schools using Liberty on my CV and, like Chris, I have gotten some pretty solid interest. I am confident the Liberty name was not a factor in hiring decisions.
     
  6. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    I have NEVER heard of the idea that Liberty would be perceived as racist by anyone until Neuhaus mentioned it. I am not sure that is true at all. Liberty University baggage has more to do with politics and for longer than that the thought of it as a bastion of conservative Evangelical Christianity (Moral Majority stuff).

    Most of the criticism comes from people who have no idea about quality of LU, they just see it as a Christian Fundamentalist school and are somewhat miffed it is as big as it is. Now you add in the J. Falwell and Trump aspect and is adds to that. I think Falwell has made clear that he is NOT a pastor simply a Christian businessman, attorney and University President. I read an article where he was asked about a gay student's article talking about how accepting LU students were and faculty (even though they may disagree with his lifestyle choice). Jerry Falwell was very pleased and said that the tolerance and acceptance (despite differences) was what he would expect. I think he is pragmatic.
     
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    So, firstly, I never said any of this is an absolute. And I do not think the typical interviewer would look at Liberty on a resume and assume the person is both white AND a racist as a matter of course. But let's also not lose sight of the fact that if a resume dig trigger such a visceral response, it's more likely to prompt a googling of said individual rather than an immediate dismissal.

    And I did not mean to imply that one could not have controversial views if they were black. However, the range of controversial views is generally more tolerated by a primarily liberal white audience as compared to similar views by a white male in some, but not all, areas. Antisemitism, for example, is a nonstarter regardless of race. There is nothing about a degree from Liberty that screams "I am an antisemite." The predominant association people are likely to make is "conservative" and possibly "Trump supporter." Which, in some circles, might not play well. Though they are less severe, and again I would argue generally more "tolerated" by left leaning individuals, in a person of color than with someone who is not.

    I recognize I'm walking a very fine line and am near the danger zone here. Please don't put words in my mouth in the process or take the statement further than it was intended to go.
     
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    It would be more of an indirect thing, I think, if it came up. I'm not saying people look at Liberty and think racist. But if I have a certain look about me AND I have a Liberty degree, people may readily draw that line. A white southern male who graduated from a sometimes controversial fundamentalist Christian university is certainly not necessarily a racist. There have been a few racists of note who fit that description, however, and with the current climate inclined toward drawing such conclusions, when justified or not, it's something to be aware of.

    When you get identified with a group, say conservative Christians, then people who don't like conservative Christians will lump you in with the worst of your group. Just the same as someone who dislikes Muslims will group a progressive Muslim in with Al-Qaeda. There is absolutely no reason to make a connection between California Islamic University and terrorism. Yet, I'm sure we're both aware that there are people who would absolutely do just that.
     
  9. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member


    I recently shared with someone that a Liberty Ph.D. would not allow me to compete with UM-College Park, University at Albany, UC Irvine, Penn State, Arizona State, Florida State, and the other top criminal justice/criminology Ph.Ds., even if I had an interest in certain universities (R1/R2).
     
  10. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    You would have to tell me where you believe I've done that, but I can tell you that certainly wasn't what I was doing. I was merely pointing out that there can be situations where ambiguity could play a factor with regard to names, race, and perception in connection to where you went to school. It of course would have to depend a lot on the receiver and the views he/she holds, and maybe we're talking about situations that would be anomalous and isolated compared to the big picture, but there is always a chance a person could wind up in one of those situations. All of that being said, at the heart of this, it's more about the public perception some hold about Liberty and how it can be attributed to any/every student that could cause a possible issue for a grad more than anything else, it's not simply a race issue with regard to resumes and such, but you mentioned it and I was just giving my view of a possible problem one could face.

    My replies to you are not meant to be some kind of ongoing excoriation. I really wish you wouldn't take them that way, but that choice is not up to me.
     
  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Listen, I'm not making any wild accusations here. I made a statement. It was a statement of very limited scope. It was very simply that how people respond to a conservative is different based on race. That observation is based purely on my reviewing public responses to conservative people of color.

    When you start off saying that there are other negative connotations one might associate with a person of color, you're implying that I said otherwise and that you are issuing a correction. I never said that first thing. I never went near that aspect of the topic. Now, maybe you were just expanding and adding your own flavor to the conversation. That's fine, of course. And you made a fine point as a standalone comment. But it wasn't a standalone comment and because it was in direct response to what I said, again, there's an implication.

    If I say to you "Boy, I sure like tacos" and you respond with "There are a lot of good foods beside tacos" it casts this notion that my pro-taco statement was somehow disparaging other foods. Similar vein. That isn't me taking some kind of ongoing excoriation. That's me pointing out that you, rightly or wrongly, took my statement in a direction where it was never meant to go. When I write here, I submit my comments for public scrutiny and comment. I do not, however, submit them for revision and repackaging to suit another person's narrative.

    That isn't a personal attack. Nor is it a condemnation of you as a person. I wish you wouldn't take it that way but, as you say, the choice is up to you.
     
  12. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There is no doubt Liberty gets some of its infamy from his founder and some more from is son.

    The question is how much might that affect someone with a degree from Liberty. I have to say that it is a very individual matter. I personally thing it is a thing, but not a huge thing. I think there are so many other factors involved that can be far more influential in the utility of your Liberty doctorate.

    It would be interesting to see what percentage of, say, hiring managers think of either Falwell or evangelicals when they see that someone went to Liberty. It would also be interesting to see how much it actually matters to them.
     
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I believe it's cumulative. The cornerstone of lasting damage was laid by the father. Every time his son says / tweets something completely unacceptable, he adds to it. The damage does not go away. It is enduring - I'm hoping it's not eternal.

    It's been piling up for too long. I am no judge of how much this damage affects a Liberty grad today - it varies, I guess. But if this business continues, the effect will be worse in days to come.
     
  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  16. not4profit

    not4profit Member

    I read the letter to decide if I wanted to attach my name to it. The sad part is that I agree with much of the spirit of what is being said. The problem is that the letter is written in such an inflammatory manner that it has absolutely no hope of even beginning the conversation that needs to happen at Liberty and across the country. This is little more than an opportunity for a group of people to make a statement. It has no hope of creating any progress at all. It seems disingenuous to write a letter indicating you want to help us move forward in the right way, but then roast the person on the other side of the table. I actually expected this to be a genuine attempt to open up dialogue about the impacts to his actions. I guess that was silly given the state of people on both sides of the political spectrum these days.
     
  17. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  18. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    I think his Tweet was obviously directed at the Governor and his hypocrisy and issues. The insensitivity of using it is obviously was felt by some. Falwell dismisses the resignations and the letter sent to him. Another issue for people leaving is the same one brought up by the Philosophy Professor who was unceremoniously terminated; no tenure and no pension. Falwell Sr. once said in regards to the lack of tenure that "the inmates won't be running the prison any time soon". Multiple reports make it sound like leadership is not so much collaborative as top down. The anonymous African American staffer stated in this article:

    "Staff, she said, fear losing their jobs, and faculty do not receive tenure.

    “You know how back in the slavery days, black people would disobey? Or they would go against the master? They get whooped for it. They would lose a limb. That limb is you losing your job,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Sit down, shut up and do your job.’ You lose your job, lose your benefits.”

    I wouldn't work there but perhaps with the academic market so tight there is not much choice. Maybe it pays well even without benefits?
     
  19. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    Glass door says an Assistant Prof makes between 52 and 74,000 at LU. I believe that is below the national average but perhaps not at private schools. I wonder if some professors start there, get experience and then transfer?
     
  20. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    It's a shame such a financially stabled school doesn't offer retirement plans. I would not work at Liberty for love nor money (not even to gain college teaching experience). I would accept an adjunct online position though.
     
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