Chandler to remain at Kent State

Britni Williams

Senior Associate Provost Timothy Chandler announced Thursday he has withdrawn his acceptance of the provost’s position at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

The decision comes after a controversy erupted over an academic paper Chandler co-wrote and published in the Journal of Higher Education in 1998 that dealt with a critique of a book by Ernest L. Boyer called “Scholarship Reconsidered.”

A local newspaper column claimed the article showed Chandler was a “Marxist.”

Provost Robert Frank said he was happy Chandler will be staying. He called Chandler a “valuable citizen to our community” and said “there has been a sensationalized misrepresentation by local media in Georgia of one of Dr. Chandler’s publications he co-authored in 1998.

“Dr. Chandler has been subjected to personal and very public attacks against his character and reputation. These undeserved attacks are baseless and unfounded.”

Chandler said: “I have now come to believe that the recent distractions caused by external forces would interfere with my effectiveness as provost.”

“Certainly, their loss is our gain,” Frank said. “We love Tim, and we’re happy to have him stay at Kent State. I look forward to the continued contributions he will make to our great community and institution.”

“This is a place where academic freedom has been valued for the 20 years that I’ve been here,” Chandler said about Kent State. “I’ve seen that as a normal part of my daily existence. It’s something that I value greatly and I’ll be happy to continue here to enjoy that situation.”

Chandler joked about his own publication: “If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, take a look at it.”

Chandler said he was “totally flabbergasted” when he found out he was being accused of being Marxist.

Earlier this month, three members of the staff of the Marietta Daily Journal wrote a column in which they said the 25,000-word paper showed a “vehement dislike of capitalism.”

The column quoted Chandler’s paper as saying:

• “Although the close connection of capitalism to violence is easily shown, it is seldom acknowledged. The allocative resources, which are increasingly disproportionately possessed, were obtained by individuals and groups, at one time or another, by physical force, coercion.”

• “Increased competition results in increased ethnicity and racism.”

• “Militarism, the development and use of weapons of mass destruction, occurs for the primary purpose of accumulating and protecting ownership of material wealth and obtaining or maintaining domination and is thus an effective goal of capitalism.”

• “Capitalism requires an ever increasing consumption (growth) and can easily lead to the destruction of the physical environment.”

• Capitalism created “an asymmetric distribution of resources, guarantees high levels of competition, greed, and violence. These three outcomes are important explicit goals of capitalism.”

• “While the United States has the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus ever assembled, it is also the most violent nation-state in history.”

Chandler told the columnists he describes himself as a “political moderate.”

“I am certainly not a Marxist,” he told the columnists. “I see it as one way of looking at the world. It’s not the way I personally choose to look at the world. But as an academic I have to be open to a variety of points of view. It’s not my own personal point of view. I would consider myself anything but a Marxist, but I think there’s still good reasons to think about it from a variety of perspectives.

“Chandler conceded, however, that he (and co-author, fellow Kent State professor Walter E. Davis) wrote the paper ‘partly through a Marxist lens.’

“Certainly there are aspects of that paper where we looked through a Marxist lens, and I think that’s perfectly acceptable in academic circles to do that,” Chandler was quoted as saying.

At a press conference, Chandler said: “This piece has been out in the world for 13 years — no one had found it in any way offensive.”

“I’m absolutely willing to stand behind it,” Chandler said. “You put your name on something; you take credit and you take responsibility.”

Chandler said the job of provost is a difficult one and the controversy would have only made it more difficult.

“My family will be very happy to stay here and continue to enjoy our life here in the Kent community,” Chandler said.

“On a personal level, my wife doesn’t have to give up her job; I don’t have to sell a house; I don’t have to clean out my basement.”