ASU Is Nothing to Crow About

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

We published an interesting interview with Tom Lewis, the generous benefactor who had to withdraw his significant contributions to ASU because of militant left-wing bias among its faculty.

In that interview, he has high praise for Michael Crow, although he admits he does not think Michael Crow knows what is going on regarding academic freedom and freedom of speech on campus.

This is a reaction we have gotten from a lot of people who hang around the Paradise Valley Country Club and we really can’t understand why they feel that way.  Michael Crow is the man in charge.  If things are going awry at ASU, he is ultimately responsible. After all, they will readily assign credit to Mr. Crow for ASU’s astounding growth.  Should he then not be held responsible for its deficiencies?


At a minimum, he is supposed to know “what is going on.”  If he doesn’t, who is?  We readily admit, even having that knowledge is no guarantee that attempting to herd biased academic cats will be successful.  But at least the attempt should be made.

Secondly, on the occasions when he has had a chance to deal directly with left-wing bias and support intellectual diversity and free speech, he has caved into the demands of intellectual vandals.  So far on this latest crisis, he has been strangely silent.

To his credit, Mr. Crow has built ASU into a behemoth of a university and upgraded its academic standards, at least the academic standards maintained by left-wing academics that determine the standards.

He has also built a real estate empire and sports enterprise that generates large sums of money, something admired by the business community and some in the legislature.  The more ASU runs like a business, the less money it will seek from the legislature.


However, neither the square footage of a university nor its cash flow is a measure of its quality.  A university that does not allow free inquiry cannot by definition be rated very high as an academic institution.

The economic independence argument is somewhat understandable when there are so many competing demands for legislative funds.  However, that does not mean intellectual diversity and freedom of speech really exist on campus.  It simply means we have a left-wing hothouse of a school that doesn’t cost the legislature much money.

Maybe the legislature should take some of that money back and exert some control.  Maybe taking control of the funds generated by sports will get the attention of the university administration.

For those reasons, lots of people on our side of the political spectrum give him a pass for the terrible intellectual environment on campus.

We won’t do that.  He is the man in charge. If there is a lack of free speech and intellectual diversity at ASU, Michael Crow is the man at fault.

Further, if you don’t have freedom of speech and intellectual diversity, you really don’t have a university, you have a training camp for radicals.

Earlier we said when confronted by left-wing bias, he has either capitulated to it or agreed with it.

Left-wing bias in the university is something that has gone on for many years, and that is not his fault, to be sure. But for purposes of illustration, we will choose a particular time period to examine.

We fondly remember 57 years ago attending ASU and as a freshman taking philosophy from Marxist Morris Starsky, who openly recruited for the radical SDS in class and later got fired for his over-the-top activism.  It was in that class one really was alerted to how biased your professor could be.  In a way, it was a good lesson. While most of the faculty in economics and history were “liberals” at the time, they were not like the left-wing radicals of today.  They were more like Hubert Humphrey than Che Guevara. But, they paved the way.

Perhaps the worst decision was allowing special departments to be built such as Black Studies, Women’s Studies, and Gender Studies.  All of these could have been accommodated within existing academic departments and thus subject to more rigorous academic standards and peer review.

It would not be a stretch to say that almost all of the bad ideas infecting our society today came out of the university and specifically out of these departments.

You might recall just three years ago the spasm of riots and destruction that accompanied the outbursts of Black Lives Matter.  After some 700 “mostly peaceful” riots and numerous accusations of institutional racism, the organization has fallen somewhat on hard times as news has emerged about how  BLM founders spent millions on luxury homes for themselves from the craven contributions of American Big Business.

While their progressive reputation has been sullied perhaps by their obvious greed and hypocrisy, their lies about America live on in our culture and in our universities, thanks in part to people like Michael Crow.

How did Michael Crow comport himself during this crisis?  Mind you, this was Black Lives Matter, an organization founded by three militant Black women who said openly they were “trained Marxists” and when they published openly their views opposing capitalism, the nuclear family, and heterosexuality.  To be sure, they took down their original website and tried to hide their radical views. But their rioting on a national scale spoke with less equivocation.  And mind you, Crow made his decisions when the embers of our smoldering cities were still glowing.

In short, this recent period was a target-rich environment for a college President to say he was against these things.

What did Michael Crow do?

Well, he produced a recommended reading list.

And he produced a  25-point program.

The reading list is a cherry-picked pack of left-wing radicals chosen by Black Lives Matter themselves!  That’s right.  He farmed out the choices to those burning down the country. Not one book by Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Heather MacDonald, Shelby Steele, Glenn Loury, or James McWorter can make the list. Not one.

If intellectual diversity is not practiced by the head man, what kind of message does that send to the faculty and administrators?

In short, Mr. Crow farmed out his reading list to Black Lives Matter and it is easily as biased as his faculty when it comes to choosing books to get a “well-rounded” view of contemporary controversies.

As to the 25-point program, click on the hyperlink for yourself and see if you think that offers any pushback at all to the demands of radicals to brainwash your kids in college.  From all reasonable perspectives, this looks like abject capitulation.

Funny, he seemed to know “what was going on” then?

So, no, we won’t give Michael Crow a pass, despite his great financial success.  It is kind of Mr. Lewis to do so, but looking at Crow’s recommended reading list or his 25-point program, he did not face down any of the demands from left-wing radicals with anything but capitulation.

True, it probably mollified them because they got what they wanted.  That created a peaceful period to continue building ASU’s educational empire, but it did not enhance intellectual discourse at the university.

Now to be fair, we picked a specific time period to measure Mr. Crow’s response because we think it tells you something.  Otherwise, it is like looking for a response to a moving glacier.  It has taken about 70 years for the left to completely dominate the university campus.  While he is not at fault for that, he is at fault for not doing anything about it.

The specific events back in 2020 tell you that he is not committed to free speech and intellectual diversity on campus.  His primary job is to keep caving into the demands of radical faculty members, keeping them happy, and thus freeing him to keep growing ASU into a real estate empire that parades as a university.

He now has a chance to correct our impression and set the record straight.  Will he stand up for free speech on campus and insist on intellectual diversity at ASU?  Will the Republicans in the legislature finally stand up and insist on free speech on campus as well?  What limited leverage lawmakers have with the university they should be applying to encourage, if not compel, free speech and intellectual diversity on campus.




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