Academia-Gate: 'Cry Wolf' Project Is a Confession of Academic Malpractice

Patrick Courrielche’s kickoff article exposing major university faculty and graduate students’ Cry Wolf Project is alarming. Each installment in the series has only made it more so.

CWP’s solicitation for policy briefs designed to construct politically driven narratives is a confession of academic malpractice. As Kurt Schlichter has pointed out, its participants’ intentions are unethical, insubordinate, and potentially illegal.

The CWP email shows its players to be intolerant of varying viewpoints in the pursuit of their ideological ends. The fact that they are offering colleagues and grad students money to predetermine outcomes proves their intent: to tell partisan political stories:


What are they afraid of?

We pay the bills. We want our children to receive comprehensive, legitimate educations as advertised by the schools we choose; educations in which multiple viewpoints of issues are honestly presented, empirically considered, and respected by professors. We do not want our schools to act as political parties and centers for ideological indoctrination.


But, the Cry Wolf Project is in violation of joint policies adopted by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). From the Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure:

As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.

From the Statement on Professional Ethics:

Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty.

In soliciting the creation of political propaganda through their schools and the facilitating organizations that receive public funding, CWP scholars abandon their ethical principles.

Nationwide university regulations, education codes and tax law strictly prohibit the unauthorized use of school resources for partisan political purposes. There are formal complaint procedures that can and should be initiated immediately against the Cry Wolf Project.

The project’s Request for Proposals was sent from Professor Dreier’s Occidental email address, and presumably communicated to and from the other schools’ servers. This creates the impression that Occidental, UCSB, Harvard, Yale, et al. endorse the plan by which Dreier & Co. intend to carry out the project. How prevalent is it that our tuition and tax dollars fund similar activities?

The Zinn Education Project is a notorious example. Its ‘guerilla-warrior’-in-chief, the late professor Howard Zinn, publicly instructed participants to violate education codes as he channeled Saul Alinsky:

Don’t obey the rules. You have to play a kind of guerrilla warfare with the establishment in which you try not to be fired. You have to depart from the curriculum… outside the lines that are set for us by the school administration, or the politicians.

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With the high cost of tuition, people must practice due diligence in choosing schools. Universities not only promise an excellent education, but also the practice of good, legitimate intellectual values and principles we want to instill in our students’ young minds so that they can be successful, productive citizens in our American civil society.

The actions of the Cry Wolf committee and the schools associated with its participants should cause parents and taxpayers to reassess their very dear investments in these institutions.

President Obama, touted as one who “embodies diversity,” attended three CWP schools: Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard, where he was recalled as being an “even-handed leader.”

I got into politics at Occidental. I made a conscious decision to become involved in public policy.

That decision would lead him to Columbia University and his first exposure to community organizing, “I really wanted to see New York and become more involved in politics.”

Obama of course later enjoyed his own teaching stint as a University of Chicago law lecturer; the same university’s alumni association once awarded CWP coordinator Peter Dreier a distinguished Public Service Award.

In his Hampton College commencement address last month, President Obama stated:

[So that] all those checks you or your parents wrote to Hampton will pay off… now that your minds have been opened, it’s up to you to keep them that way. It will be up to you to open minds that remain closed that you meet along the way. That, after all, is the elemental test of any democracy: whether people with differing points of view can learn from each other, and work with each other, and find a way forward together.

Mr. President, as an even-handed leader who embodies diversity, do you believe the Cry Wolf Project meets your elemental test of democracy? Or is it “just words? Just speeches?”

“Intellect loses its virtue when it ceases to seek truth and turns to the pursuit of political ends.” — Robert H. Bork