Universities Torn Between Truth Seeking and Social Justice

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

The Power of Buzzwords, like ‘Dispositions” 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

The Strange World of Social Justice Warriors

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

Totalitarians for Social Justice?

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?

More Ed-School “Social Justice” Studies

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

Social Justice Art and Liberal Democracy

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

Teach Social Justice–Or Else

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

The Slippery Use Of ”Social Justice

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

Should Universities Be In The Social Justice Business?

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?

Race Baiting in the Name of Justice

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

Justice Kennedy and Affirmative Action

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

Justice Kennedy Should Read Richard Brodhead

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

A Social Scientist Who Made a Difference

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

Ex-Justice: Civil Rights Act ‘Poorly Considered’

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’

DePaul—The Worst University for Free Speech?

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 Real Defense of Charles Murray: Truth Not 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

Crime But No Punishment at Middlebury?

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?

The Bubble 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

Punishing College Sports Teams

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 Campus Left Discovers Free Speech

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

Enough of the College-for-Everyone Agenda

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

Will Georgetown Remain a Catholic University?

While Georgetown University leaders may have said a silent prayer last week for the repose of the soul of one of its most distinguished alums, the best-selling author, William Peter Blatty, it is unlikely that most were mourning his passing. Blatty, the author of The Exorcist, had been making life difficult for Georgetown for more than a … Continue reading Will Georgetown Remain a Catholic University?

The Dangerous Rise of ‘The New Civics’

The following are excerpts from a report released January 10 by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) on MAKING CITIZENS: HOW AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES TEACH CIVICS. The full report includes case studies at the University of Colorado (Boulder), Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado and the University of Wyoming.             … Continue reading The Dangerous Rise of ‘The New Civics’

How a University Moved from Diversity to Indoctrination

Academe these days is full of code words.  Diversity is one of the most popular, and has increasingly become an article of faith at American colleges.  Its usefulness depends on ambiguity. While the public and media may believe it means openness to previously excluded students and studies, the reality is that “diversity” is a brazen … Continue reading How a University Moved from Diversity to Indoctrination

How Colleges and Universities Foster “Hate Culture”

Many of my colleagues and students are responding to the results of the 2016 presidential election with fear, disappointment, and disbelief. For some, Trump’s victory and the social unrest that followed dramatically changed their perceptions of Americans, democracy, and human nature. They are mourning the loss of a progressive dream. Although I share my colleagues’ … Continue reading How Colleges and Universities Foster “Hate Culture”