On Being Given a Rare Opportunity and a Great Responsibility—Thoughts Near the End of the Year
As I've previously noted on this site, I receive up to a thousand emails a month commenting on my blog postings. Like the writer of the letter included in the previous posting (available in the right-hand menu: "What It Must Be Like to Teach in North Korea"), almost all of the people who write me express shock and dismay at the way I have been treated by Boston University administrators—and many of them commiserate with what they imagine to be my “terrible” or “awful” situation.
Of course I am grateful for the expressions of sympathy and understanding, but I want to make clear to blog readers that though I have indeed been treated unethically and unconscionably by Boston University administrators, my life is not terrible or awful. I love, love, love my job. Really. I give thanks to God every day for blessing me with the opportunities I have—the chance to do important things with young people (what could be more exciting than the shaping of minds, hearts, and souls?); the chance to work with students in the classroom exploring the supreme creations of the human spirit; the opportunity in my free time to pursue my passions to the end—to write articles, essays, and books about some of the great artistic works of the past and present; the chance to speak to people around the world about art—and academic values. I can’t imagine a better job or a more important and exciting way to spend my life. I have truly been blessed, and continue to be blessed to be given the opportunity to do the things I do.
I have been given a rare opportunity and a great responsibility—the chance to speak out about, and defend, the kind of intellectual and ethical issues this blog deals with. I know it’s not curing cancer or bringing peace to the Middle East, but may everyone have a chance to fight a battle at least this important. I have been given the chance to articulate and defend important academic principles. I have been given the chance to restore ethical conduct to the university I teach in. I am defending academic freedom in a university that doesn’t understand the concept. I am fighting for the good of Boston University students. And for the benefit of future faculty members, and current faculty who are in too precarious a position to speak up and say the kinds of things I am saying. I am doing it for future generations of students and faculty members. What a chance this is. What a miracle that I am able to do it. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity. I don’t need anyone’s pity or sorrow. I have the best and most exciting life I could ever imagine.—Ray Carney