Here’s Tulane’s provost, commenting on Tulane’s business school having for years made up US News and World Report numbers.

In a statement, Tulane Provost Michael Bernstein, the university’s chief academic officer, said: “I sincerely regret that these events occurred and that one person could so negatively impact how others see us as a place of learning. I am, however, proud of the manner and rigor by which Dean Solomon, Tulane and Jones Day took to get to the bottom of this concern and create an even stronger framework for future reporting.”

The first sentence simply stitches cliches together – including the hideous “negatively impact.” “Negatively impact” is precisely the wordy vacuous pomposity Orwell went after so long ago in Politics and the English Language.

The second… Read it again.

I am, however, proud of the manner and rigor by which Dean Solomon, Tulane and Jones Day took to get to the bottom of this concern and create an even stronger framework for future reporting.

Basic grammar seems beyond this man, the highest-profile voice for a “place of learning.” This man has failed to write a simple, correct sentence. Tulane seems to have no one in its administration to scan official statements and edit them.

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5 Responses to “A chief academic officer who talks – writes? – like this does more damage to a school’s reputation than inflated numbers.”

  1. david foster Says:

    In addition to the pathetic use of language, consider this lame excuse: “one person could so negatively impact how others see us as a place of learning”

    One person, of course, did not really do this all by himself. Someone hired the person, someone (supposedly) supervised him, someone established or failed to establish procedures for review and verification of the data before it was submitted, etc.

  2. Jack/OH Says:

    FWIW-much debate over health care, e. g., rhetorically strips moral agency from the very players who’ve rigged American health care to be what it is. Haven’t Orwell, James Burnham, Marshall McLuhan, and a bunch of other folks sort of told us, in one way or another, how you can finesse wickedness?

    Can anyone imagine Adolf, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, et. al. doing Oprah these days?

    Thanks, david foster. If I’m reading correctly, that “negatively impact” does not refer to an actual injury or wrongness, only to the injury done to the perception of Tulane by outsiders.

  3. Jack/OH Says:

    Let’s see here. I kill you, I rape your sister, I burn your home. Then I hire a PR guy to say “he regrets how his actions have negatively impacted how others see him as a pretty decent middle-aged dude.”

  4. Ani Says:

    “A chief academic officer who talks – writes? – like this does more damage to a school’s reputation than inflated numbers.”

    Unless by “reputation” you mean something very rarified, this is plainly untrue.

  5. GTWMA Says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/campus-overload/post/george-washington-university-unranked-by-us-news/2012/11/14/d07d2d76-2e83-11e2-9ac2-1c61452669c3_blog.html

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