Deidre McCloskey and Lynn Conway — the subjects of my previous post on this topic — are both powerful persons. McCloskey is Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication, a title created just for her. In October 2007, she will receive an honorary degree from Goteborg University. Conway is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. McCloskey and Conway abused their power when they attacked Bailey.
As awful as their actions were, even worse is what Northwestern University administrators (led by Provost Lawrence Dumas) did: Let themselves be used as tools in the attack. McCloskey and Conway master-minded the filing of an absurd human-subjects complaint against Bailey — and Northwestern took it seriously! As Bailey says, it was “obvious to Northwestern officials” what McCloskey and Conway were trying to do (ruin Bailey) and why. It was like the teacher in a playground taking the side of the bully. Except worse, because Bailey could have been fired.
Kudos to Alice Dreger for shining light on a very unsavory episode in American academic history.