I have received a number of letters in the following vein, each offering a similar kind of compliment about my conduct at Boston University and my blog postings. My truth-telling about the moral lapses and blindnesses and ethical agnosticism of Boston University administrators has been compared by various blog followers with the statements and actions of Nick Merrill (the head of the Calyx Institute who defied an order that he hand customer information over to the FBI), Cody Wilson (a coder for unSystem and the author of Dark Wallet for Bitcoin), Edward Snowden (the whistle-blower who worked for the National Security Agency), Glenn Greenwald and Barton Gellman (courageous journalists with The Guardian and The Washington Post who published many documents the United States government attempted to suppress), James Risen (a New York Times reporter who did something similar there), Julian Assange (the founder of WikiLeaks), Thomas Drake, William Binney, Kirk Wiebe, Edward Loomis (former NSA employees who revealed unpleasant facts about the agency), and dozens of other whistle-blowers, truth-tellers, and defenders of academic and other forms of free expression. I thank my readers one and all for the flattering comparisons, even if the accolades are undeserved and the comparisons seem, to me, grossly exaggerated. I know they are offered with the best of intentions, based on the highest ideals of professional conduct. I only wish Boston University President Robert Brown, Provost Jean Morrison, members of the legal department who have behaved so unethically and unprofessionally, middle-level administrators like the Department of Film and Television Chairman and College of Communication Dean, and members of the Board of Trustees embraced the same ideals. But that is clearly not the case, or there would be no reason for this blog—or for it to continue into the present. (To see how far both past and present ethical problems at Boston University are from being addressed even in mid-2014, after almost a decade of confidential memos and more than a year of blog postings pointing them out, see the entries for March and April of 2014. They are available via the menu on the right margin of the page.) –Ray Carney
Dear Prof. Carney,
Ladar Levinson founded an email service he was forced to shut down in the summer of 2013 when the NSA harassed and threatened him with legal action against him (because, among other things, Edward Snowden was using Levinson’s web site to communicate with Glenn Greenwald). Of all of the people listed in Karen’s note to me, Levinson’s situation actually presents the closest parallel to one aspect of my own situation at BU, insofar as five years ago I was forced to suspend postings on my Boston University faculty web site due to similar harassment and threats from the Boston University administration. Levinson was threatened with legal action by the NSA that would bankrupt him if he didn’t shut his site down, and I was threatened with legal action—by the Dean of the College of Communication and Chairman of the Department of Film and Television, with the backing of the Boston University Provost—that would similarly bankrupt me; as well as additionally threatened by BU administrators with having my name and reputation smeared on the internet via an official university posting, if I didn’t shut down my faculty web site. (See the November 2013 blog posting, “The Thought Police,” for more information about the administrative threats and pressures BU applied.)
Prof. of Film and American Studies
"Inside Boston University—A Faculty Member's Efforts to Defend
Academic Freedom of Expression" --
Ray Carney's observations about academic freedom of expression, the
censorship of faculty publications, and bureaucratic retaliation
against independent-minded faculty members at Boston University. Prof.
Carney reflects on the deleterious effect of corporate modes of
organization, business measures of value, and market pressures on the
life of the mind, academic research, and course offerings—and on the
distortions corporate values introduce into the faculty promotion,
pay, and support system.
Ray Carney is the author or editor of: Henry Adams, Mount Saint Michel
and Chartres (Viking Penguin), Henry James, What Maisie Knew and The
Spoils of Poynton (New American Library/Signet), Rudyard Kipling, Kim
(New American Library); The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism,
Modernism and the Movies (Cambridge University Press); The Films of
Mike Leigh: Embracing the World (Cambridge University Press); Speaking
the Language of Desire: The Films of Carl Dreyer (Cambridge University
Press); American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra (Cambridge
University Press); American Dreaming (University of California Press
at Berkeley); Shadows (British Film Institute/Macmillan); Cassavetes
on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber/Farrar, Straus); Autoportraits (Cahiers
du cinema), The Adventure of Insecurity; Necessary Experiences; Why
Art Matters; and other books, essays, and editions, published in more
than ten languages.
To read a summary of the past decade of financial and bureaucratic punishments, pedagogical failures, violations of academic freedom, verbal harassment, threats to destroy Prof. Carney's reputation via web postings and to bankrupt him with legal actions, and a variety of other forms of administrative misconduct and academic misbehavior at Boston University, see: “A Summary—Ten Years at Boston University,” available under June 2014 in the side menu on any page.