Monday, October 18, 2010

Why is Karen Himle still working at the U?

Karen Himle, the wife of gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner's (now former) public relations partner, is the vice president for University Relations at the University of Minnesota who recently tried to censor the showing of a documentary on water quality issues in Minnesota and the Mississippi River. Himle and the U have dissembled their way through this unethical attempt to silence research that partially indicts agribusiness. Now the Twin Cities Daily Planet has gotten hold of emails that circulated through the U's administration during this incident. One email in particular,shown below, sent by Himle on September 28th to two other U officials is notable for its invocation of right wing bogeymen like Michael Moore and Saul Alinsky. In another email Himle appoints herself the subjective arbiter on what is or is not propaganda - and presumably her right to censor it  -  declaring that  "I'll know it the next time I see it." That's some kind of scientific method there.

It's bad enough that an apparent right wing nut like Karen Himle is allowed to be the vice president for University Relations at the U. It is intolerable that she feels free to to use her authoritarianism and right wing ideology to silence academic free speech. There is no way the U can have any credibility as a place that welcomes academic freedom or has transparency in its governance as long as Himle is its public face. She should do the right thing and resign, or President Bruininks should fire her. Immediately.

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UPDATE: Himle gets $250,000 a year from the U for her censorship duties, and it turns out her husband's firm "represents the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council… a strong proponent of ethanol and industrial farming, both of which are criticized in the film."


Phoenix said...

Obsessions with Michael Moore and Saul Alinsky as the Great Lefty Demons of the Universe are not only Republican signifiers, they're Tea Party signifiers.  If Himle's so much as read a page of either Moore or Alinsky I'd be shocked.

Tom said...

Well, this should help the U's case asking for more money during next year's state budget fight.

Rob Levine said...

Yeah - no doubt she hasn't read Moore or Alinsky, but she's no doubt heard Glenn Back rant about them daily.