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the struggle can sometimes be frustrating, in that even successes—such as getting policies that attack academic freedom repealed—generally leave in place the people who designed and implemented those policies in the first place.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

How Schools Create Social Justice Warriors

When people watch videos and TV footage of college students screaming at professors and blocking doors to lecture halls, they wonder where the rancor and intolerance come from. A story recently in The New York Times identifies one origin. It’s called “Children’s Primers Court the Littlest Radicals,” and it covers a new trend in children’s … Continue reading How Schools Create Social Justice Warriors

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

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?

A Challenge to Harvard’s Social Club Crackdown

Harvard’s new policy on social clubs, penalizing student members of single-sex clubs, has run into faculty opposition. Under the policy, students in the class of 2021 and beyond cannot simultaneously be a member of a single-sex final club or Greek organization and hold club leadership positions or athletic team captaincies, or be recommended for Rhodes … Continue reading A Challenge to Harvard’s Social Club Crackdown

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’

War Over A Trojan Horse

A few weeks ago, the Delta Phi fraternity at Hamilton College distributed on campus fliers welcoming students to attend “the 53rd annual Mexican Night” party. The invitation, which was intended to be symbolic of spring-break excursions to Cancun and other vacation spots south of the border, contained the image of a Trojan Horse in the … Continue reading War Over A Trojan Horse

Ed School Politics – Still A Problem

Beware the words “social justice” and “dispositions” when used by schools of education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). These apparently harmless terms lay the groundwork for politicizing the training of teachers and giving the ed schools an excuse to eliminate conservatives from their programs. The news this week is that … Continue reading Ed School Politics – Still A Problem

The Devious Plot Against the Universities

Conservative rationalist Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies that “unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance.” In a society that tolerates intolerant forces, these forces will eventually take advantage of the situation and bring about the downfall of the entire society. The philosophical foundation of this belief can trace its roots to Plato’s ideas … Continue reading The Devious Plot Against the Universities

Professor-Student Sex—Just a Problem of Dirty Old Men?

A drearily familiar depiction of lecherous professors and innocent students appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education December 7, unsubtly titled “Dirty Old Men on the Faculty.” It lacks all nuance and context and resolutely ignores the reality that college students – who are adults, not children — often pursue their professors. Fortunately, more illuminating … Continue reading Professor-Student Sex—Just a Problem of Dirty Old Men?

‘We Made This (Harassment) Law Up From the Beginning and Now We’ve Won’

“The sexual harassment racket is over,” Peggy Noonan excitedly declared in the Wall Street Journal last week. No longer need we be stumped by conundrums based on “he said/she said.” Instead, Noonan rejoices that “now predators are on notice.” Overlooked in the celebration, however, is that the presumption of innocence—long problematic in sexual harassment charges– … Continue reading ‘We Made This (Harassment) Law Up From the Beginning and Now We’ve Won’

The Purge of the Deviants May Go Too Far

Sociologist Emile Durkheim would find validation for his theory of deviance in the fury surrounding sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men in politics, the media, business, and academia. More than one hundred years ago, Durkheim argued that the reason acts of deviance are identified and publicly punished is because defining deviant behavior reinforces socialContinue reading The Purge of the Deviants May Go Too Far

What the Tax-Reform Law Could Do to Higher Education

Exceptional athletes are often called game changers, but the real game changers in sports are the committees that set the rules.  Changing the height of the pitcher’s mound changes the game.  So too with expenses in higher education.  The rules are changing. The House of Representatives has passed a tax reform bill that includes several … Continue reading What the Tax-Reform Law Could Do to Higher Education

History: A Troubled Field Likely to Get Worse

Here’s a sign of the times: the head of the American Historical Association says departments should integrate communication, collaboration, and three other “basic skills” into their programs. In other words. Jobs in history are dwindling, so graduate students in the field had better prepare some backup plans. I heard the same thing in literary studies … Continue reading History: A Troubled Field Likely to Get Worse

Are All Men Really Like That?

In the mainstream and on social media, we’ve been told that all women live under constant threat and that all men are part of the problem. One columnist admonished “nice guys” were most likely responsible for the bulk of the problem and bore the responsibility for fixing it. The journalist Benjamin Law started the hashtag #How … Continue reading Are All Men Really Like That?