Mr. Short isn’t qual­i­fied to work at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia

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The Oct. 8 Metro ar­ti­cle “De­part­ing scholar crit­i­cizes U-Va. hire” left unan­swered Marc Short’s call­ing Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia fac­ulty mem­bers “closed-minded” — un­for­tu­nately, as Mr. Short is disin­gen­u­ously sum­mon­ing a cur­rent car­i­ca­ture. I as­sure read­ers that is baloney. I have taught, writ­ten and ar­gued with U-Va. fac­ulty col­leagues whose views dif­fer greatly from mine and I’ve rel­ished such dif­fer­ence, see­ing it as es­sen­tial to my life as a fac­ulty mem­ber. That makes me sim­ply typ­i­cal of the way we do our work.

Mr. Short’s com­mit­ment to false­hood and de­cep­tion, in ser­vice of po­si­tions an­ti­thet­i­cal to the prin­ci­ples the uni­ver­sity claims to up­hold, is re­volt­ing and should have been suf­fi­cient rea­son to bar his be­ing in­vited to work here. But my main ob­jec­tion to his ap­point­ment is that the only qual­i­fi­ca­tion any­one has claimed for him is re­cent, short ex­pe­ri­ence in the White House. Any­one who has served in the mil­i­tary would have much of im­por­tance to tell our stu­dents about that ex­pe­ri­ence, but we don’t crowd­source the teach­ing of mil­i­tary his­tory; any­one who has thought or per­ceived the world or felt emo­tion has likely ex­pe­ri­enced such things uniquely, but we don’t crowd­source the teach­ing of neu­ro­science. It would take 20 Mr. Shorts at least to match the ex­per­tise of any of the three fac­ulty mem­bers who have re­signed their Miller Cen­ter po­si­tions be­cause of his ap­point­ment.

How­ever ab­hor­rent his views, dis­cus­sion of his place here would be dif­fer­ent, I feel sure, if he were par­tic­u­larly qual­i­fied to do any­thing but slan­der.

Vic­tor Luftig,

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