... some faculty [...] want to put the brakes on a plan to name a new research center after the Nobel Prize-winning economist.The article notes that
About a half-dozen faculty members aired their concerns Tuesday in a meeting with Zimmer [U. of C. President] and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, who remain committed to the project.One faculty member is quoted as saying
"It is a right-wing think tank being put in place," said Bruce Lincoln, a professor of the history of religions and one of the faculty members who met with the administration Tuesday. "The long-term consequences will be very severe. This will be a flagship entity and it will attract a lot of money and a lot of attention, and I think work at the university and the university's reputation will take a serious rightward turn to the detriment of all."Another member of faculty is quoted as saying
"I don't think any institute of any educational institution should be so strongly aligned behind a single ideological program," said U. of C. music professor and department chair Robert Kendrick.Other faculty have said
"For many people who travel around the word, the university has had a pretty bad reputation that is tied to the Chicago School and economic principles that Milton Friedman advocated," said Yali Amit, a U. of C. statistics and computer science professor. "We don't think it's a great idea to strengthen this reputation."The article also notes that
Rosenbaum [U. of C. Provost] said the center will not push any particular point of view.And
"We are honoring a great scholar, and that is the intent here," Rosenbaum said. "We are supportive of a wide range of ideas across the spectrum of ideologies, and it's not intended to promote any ideology."
Economics professor Lars Peter Hansen, chair of the committee that proposed the institute, said the opponents are confusing Friedman's economic scholarship with his social and political views. He said the center will not have any "particular political slant."But the best response came from Jagdish Bhagwati
John Cochrane, a business school professor who served on the Friedman Institute committee, also emphasized that the center will be nonpartisan.
Columbia University economics professor Jagdish Bhagwati laughed when he heard about the latest debate at the Hyde Park campus.Well said that man!
"It is nonsensical to object. . . . Chicago should be proud it has someone like Milton on its rolls," he said. "Anybody who can claim that Milton was not one of the major thinkers of his time is crazy."
Update: Stephen Kirchner of Institutional Economics comments here, and notes
The opposition probably tells us more about the lack of diversity and the ideological biases at the rest of the university than at the new research centre.Update 2: Michael C. Moynihan comments at Reason magazine.
Update 3: Steven D. Levitt comments here and David Warsh comments here.