A lengthy article by Jonathan Haidt dealing with the growing conflict over the proper goal or end of the academy ran here in full on October 23. It was neither an original article of ours nor a reprint published with permission. It should have run–and appears now–as an excerpt referring readers back to its original site, … Continue reading Universities Torn Between Truth Seeking and Social Justice
Mitchell Langbert, a professor at Brooklyn College, wrote last week about the grandly titled and resolutely leftist faculty union that he and all teachers at CUNY are stuck with, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC). Langbert mentioned, briefly, that PSC had made no effort to defend our excellent writer, KC Johnson when KC was under attack … Continue reading The Power of Buzzwords, like ‘Dispositions” and ‘Social Justice’
Culture wars over “social justice” have been wreaking havoc in many communities, including universities and science fiction fandom. The ordeal of Northwestern University film professor Laura Kipnis, hauled before a campus gender equity tribunal for publishing a critique of academia’s current obsession with sexual misconduct, has brought the backlash against “political correctness” to reliably left-of-center venues such as Vox. But this is … Continue reading The Strange World of Social Justice Warriors
In the New York Observer, Cathy Young laments the rise of “social justice warriors,” primarily on campus and online, arguing that “this version of ‘social justice’ is not about social justice at all. It is a cultish, essentially totalitarian ideology deeply inimical—as liberals such as Jonathan Chait wam in New York Magazine—to the traditional values … Continue reading Totalitarians for Social Justice?
The Boston Globe brings news of “discord” at the Harvard Education School. The issue, incredibly, involves claims by graduate students and some faculty members that the institution is insufficiently committed to a left-wing educational agenda. Over the last few years, three “social justice” professors left the Graduate School of Education, including the husband-wife duo of Marcelo and Carola Suarez-Orozco. (She explores such only-in-academia … Continue reading More Ed-School “Social Justice” Studies
Michelle Kamhi is the co-editor of the online arts review Aristos, and a mild-mannered, well-spoken New Yorker with a love of art and intellectual integrity. She is also the cause of a heated controversy that has broken out in the world of art education. The source of this conflict is an op-ed Kamhi wrote in … Continue reading Social Justice Art and Liberal Democracy
A frequent allegation against efforts to inculcate “dispositions” in student-teachers is that they are fuzzy and un-quantifiable. Especially in a high-accountability climate, the rise of “disposition” outcomes is particularly hard to sustain. Here’s a study in The New Educator that answers the objection. Authored by educators at Boston College, it appears under the title “Learning … Continue reading Teach Social Justice–Or Else
For educational reformers, the struggle can sometimes be frustrating, in that even successes—such as getting policies that attack academic freedom repealed—generally leave in place the people who designed and implemented those policies in the first place. But, at the very least, such efforts can force ideologues to abandon easy tools for enforcing their orthodoxy. Take, … Continue reading The Slippery Use Of ”Social Justice”
Brandeis University is now officially committed to social justice. The university’s “Diversity Statement” says that the university considers social justice central to its mission. Is this controversial? Absolutely, says George Mason law professor David Bernstein, blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy. Universities shouldn’t be in the social justice business, according to Bernstein, a Brandeis alum who … Continue reading Should Universities Be In The Social Justice Business?
The annual White Privilege Conference, not open to the public, concluded yesterday at an undisclosed site in Philadelphia. Caucasians mustn’t worry though — the sponsors say they aren’t anti-white. It’s just that having white skin is an oppressive virus or disease that must be repented in the name of mutual respect. The teachers and lecturers … Continue reading Race Baiting in the Name of Justice
The Supreme Court holds oral arguments tomorrow in Fisher v. Texas, possibly the most consequential case in years involving affirmative action. Many of us critics of racial preferences are optimistic that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote, will agree to modify if not overrule Justice O’Connor’s ruling in the 2003 Grutter case, which, in … Continue reading Justice Kennedy and Affirmative Action
The Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter operated on the basis of some unspoken assumptions. One was that regardless of how other applicants were affected, students admitted because of preferences benefited from the decision. Another was that universities could be trusted to handle issues of race fairly and efficiently, or at least more so than could … Continue reading Justice Kennedy Should Read Richard Brodhead
Irving Louis Horowitz, who died last week at 82, was a force of nature–a brilliant, cantankerous, sociologist of astonishing range; a forceful and important publisher (Transaction Books, Society magazine); and a radical acolyte of C. Wright Mills who moved to the right as he saw the crippling effect doctrinaire Marxists were having on social science … Continue reading A Social Scientist Who Made a Difference
When Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the Supreme Court in 2010 ABC News noted that over the course of his 34 years on the Court he “became a hero to liberals[,] voting to … uphold affirmative action” and other liberal causes. Now he has written an autobiography, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir, ruminating … Continue reading Ex-Justice: Civil Rights Act ‘Poorly Considered’
Complicity or incompetence: those two alternatives describe a good deal of policing in the Bay Area these last few years. Peter Shrag writes, “California or even the whole West Coast is in a liberal bubble in the age of Trump” and that “the Bay Area is a bubble within a bubble”—as manifested by its leaders’ politically correct deference … Continue reading Napolitano and the Decline of Berkeley
Edgar Rice Burroughs foresaw the situation at Evergreen State and other campuses. He described it in Tarzan Untamed, a 1919 novel in which the hero finds himself in the lost city of Xuja. Xuja, hidden in a secret valley, cut off from the rest of the world, resembles the typical American campus today in that … Continue reading When Universities Go Out of Control
Evergreen State College Biology professor Bret Weinstein is surprised. Indignant. Alarmed. Weinstein is the new Allison Stanger—the progressive Middlebury professor still suffering a concussion from the attack by the masked anti-Charles Murray rioters on March 2. Weinstein is also the new Laura Kipnis, the progressive Northwestern professor hauled up on Title IX charges in 2015 … Continue reading Angry Students Turn on Another Progressive Prof at Evergreen
It is not too early to say that Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus by Laura Kipnis, professor of film studies at Northwestern University, will be one of the most important books of 2017. Kipnis gained some notoriety two years ago when she was hauled before her school’s Title IX investigators on a complaint … Continue reading Professor Laura Kipnis–She Faced Title IX Charges for Writing an Essay
In February, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) named DePaul University as one of the worst 10 universities for the protection of free speech. It was not the first time that DePaul has been on FIRE’s radar. Most recently DePaul University was in the news for actions which have blocked conservative speakers and … Continue reading DePaul—The Worst University for Free Speech?
The Middlebury College incident in which Charles Murray was forcefully prevented from speaking about Coming Apart has generated a mini-industry of brilliant responses on behalf of academic freedom. Unfortunately, at least from my perspective, these high-sounding admonitions are misdirected and paradoxically give comfort to disruptors. Murray’s champions uniformly embrace the classic let- a-thousand-flowers-bloom, anti-censorship argument … Continue reading The Real Defense of Charles Murray: Truth Not Free Speech
Two weeks have passed since a student mob shouted down visiting lecturer Charles Murray at Middlebury College, injured a professor, and jumped up and down on Murray’s car. But college President Laurie Patton still hasn’t acted to deal with any of the perpetrators. The action necessary was laid out clearly and forcefully by Rod Dreher … Continue reading Crime But No Punishment at Middlebury?
Photo: The Rutland Herald I’m surprised there hasn’t been more outrage about the somewhat violent silencing of Charles Murray at Middlebury. I feel more than a little threatened by the fact that a political scientist was actually injured in the line of duty. I thought I had prudently chosen a profession where that just couldn’t … Continue reading The Bubble at Middlebury
NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues we are witnessing an internal war over what in fact is a university’s core sacred value: is it truth? Or social justice? If it is the search for truth, free speech is essential. If it’s social justice, then the rising campus yen for censorship and silencing one’s opponents can … Continue reading Punishing College Sports Teams
The data are beginning to bear out the popular theory that free speech on campus is in steady decline. A study commissioned by the William F. Buckley Center at Yale found that 51% of college students favor speech codes to regulate speech for both faculty and students. Relatedly, a Pew poll found that a full … Continue reading The Campus Left Discovers Free Speech
Every so often, someone in the higher ed establishment does a bit of cheerleading for the team –proclaim that college degrees are so beneficial that the country should try to put far more young people through college. The most venerable such effort is a report that the College Board puts out every three years entitled … Continue reading Enough of the College-for-Everyone Agenda