By William Germano
Lingua Franca - Blog - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Originally posted September 18, 2013
Are academics ever really sorry?
A recent kerfuffle (a good Chronicle of Higher Ed word) at Johns Hopkins involved an interim dean who apologized for asking a research professor to remove a blog post.
When the dean’s apology came forth, my friend Christopher Newfield at the University of California at Santa Barbara tweeted “an explanation would be better than an apology.” I take his point to be that when somebody does what they say they shouldn’t have it’s not the expression of contrition we’re after, it’s the detailed rationale—the sequence of missteps—that led to the action that finally produced the apology.
So what do we do when caught out? We tend to the deflective (“I’m sorry, but my hands were tied”), the absorptive (“I’m sorry, but I had to do what I thought was right”), or the obstructive (“I’m sorry you feel that way”).
The entire blog post is here.