Opinion: Kent, Kennesaw and the Red Scare

Jody Michael

Jody Michael

Jody Michael is a sophomore broadcast journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Welcome back to Kent State, everyone. Hopefully your spring break was enjoyable. Did you travel anywhere? Did you make new friends? Did anyone accuse you of being a Marxist?

The latter happened this month to Timothy Chandler, our senior associate provost. Perhaps you heard in February he accepted the provost’s position at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

This terrified executives at the Marietta Daily Journal so much that they began digging for old academic articles Chandler had written. Seriously, is that normal?

Nonetheless, they found one of Chandler’s papers and proceeded to wet their pants, horrified that he — gasp — cited Karl Marx. They argued that he and co-author Walter Davis have an “obvious fondness for Marx and vehement dislike of capitalism.”

That is difficult to argue when the 25,000-word, 22-page paper quotes Marx just five times, twice to refute him. Besides, does a criticism of capitalism now equal a “vehement dislike”? Capitalism is not a completely perfect system; neither is socialism. That is why America has a mixed economy.

I have some questions to ask these Marietta Daily Journal writers: If Chandler is such an obvious Marxist and a massive threat to capitalism and to America as we know it, then what has he done in his 20 years at Kent State to turn us students into a bunch of Marxist-loving America-haters?

Their multiple columns focused only on one supposedly horrible academic paper from 13 years ago and provide zero evidence that Chandler has been even remotely involved in anything that spurred an implementation of Marxism at Kent State. Does that evidence even exist?

If Chandler has a “vehement dislike of capitalism” as the MDJ states, why has he not stopped Kent State from improving to become the nation’s 159th best undergraduate business program out of 215 top-tier schools according to U.S. News and World Report?

What could he have done, anyway? The provost’s office is in charge of supervising and overseeing the university’s curriculum. Marxism seeks to implement socialism in society. How exactly is a senior associate provost equipped to make America socialist?

Is the MDJ implicitly advocating for public universities to discriminate in its hiring on the basis of politics? Should we do this at all government agencies? Will a Marxist cashier at the DMV bring America to her knees?

Are we supposed to never mention Marx and instead pretend he never existed? If this Marx-referencing column hinders my ability to get a job after graduating, will the MDJ consider that justifiable? Does Kennesaw State refuse to teach Marx in any of its classes? Remember, those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

These Marietta Daily Journal writers have every right to criticize Chandler, of course, but their premise is flawed. They are more concerned with performing witch-hunts than analyzing actual results.

Chandler has since chosen not to go to Kennesaw. He will continue to help our university improve and excel. Welcome back to Kent State, Dr. Chandler.