The College Fix is reporting that NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jeffrey Braden is coming under fire for a controversial passage in an email to students:
“Finally, a bit of advice. The friends you make in college will be your friends for life, and will influence what you do and how you think throughout your life time-so choose wisely. Some of the best friends I made as a student were Plato, Henry David Thoreau, Mao Tse-tung, Margaret Mead, and Maya Angelou. My colleagues are eager to make similar introductions for you!”
For perspective, Chairman Mao was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions through starvation, murder, civil war, and the horrors of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Dean Braden is, assumably, not praising the deceased Chinese Communist for his murderous efforts, and instead making a point that students should read broadly to understand history. But calling one of history’s greatest villains a “friend” is a step too far. Many professors will assign passages from Hitler’s deranged writings for historical perspective, but that hardly makes him a buddy of students. The outrage that would come from referring to Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, Franco, or other fascists as “friends” would provoke justified outrage and campus protests. Referring favorably to a mass murderer from the left will probably lead to nothing more than some ineffectual conservative grumbling.
This is probably a error with no Marxist indoctrination intended, but nonetheless one that reveals some intellectual biases in academia.