Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Hamilton Center goes bust?

Apparently governance issues have derailed Hamilton College’s Alexander Hamilton Center, mentioned here. The attempt to protect the Center from a hostile takeover (at some point in the future) was too much for the Administration to swallow.

I’m all for collegiality and the importance of unity in the university, and I’m generally leery of efforts to impose "outside agendas" (which is how this might have been characterized), but there are also times when the only way to fulfill the collegiate mission of free inquiry is to provide support for "difference" that otherwise doesn’t find favor on the faculty.

Stated another way, if the only way to achieve and maintain genuine intellectual balance on campus is to set up this sort of relatively independent governing mechanism, I can live with it and indeed embrace it. It’s kind of like giving an institute tenure.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Hoping to find out more, I’m surprised nobody has commented. As Joe notes, this is an interesting problem. Perhaps Hamilton can hammer out a solution -- maybe, for example, building in a regularly scheduled review and reauthorization. (What this would do to fund-raising, others will know better than I.) How have other places managed to create programs or institutes to counterbalance the conventional and eroding flows of the Higher Learning?

Please understand that the President and the Dean of Faculty negotiated the Charter on behalf of the College, agreed to it, put their names as Founders, then published the announcment & the Charter, then 40 days later publicly announced a $3.6mm gift in support of the Center, and then 45 days later announced the Alexander Hamilton Center would not go forward.

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