Free Speech as a Market Differentiator for Colleges and Law Schools

Two seemingly unrelated articles appeared recently on the same day and illustrate how free speech can help differentiate colleges and law schools in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The first was an official editorial in the Wall Street Journal, which took Georgetown University Law Center to task for its handling of a controversial tweet by incoming […]

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Truth in Children’s Literature: A Response to Dr. Siu’s American Ogres

From a bird’s eye view, most children stories can be understood as a process that guides the child into becoming a member of society──a member of a particular culture, a particular place, and a particular time. We tell them about dangers, morals, customs, and cultural beliefs, and how to perform the rituals of daily life. […]

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The Pipeline of Indoctrination

Between March 4 and March 6, 2022, the California Teachers Association (CTA), California’s largest teachers union with a membership of 325,000 educators, hosted a convention titled “2022 Equity & Human Rights Conference” in Los Angeles. With an aim to “provide all CTA members with a greater understanding of the issues of diversity, equity and social […]

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Grammar and Whiteness

As part of the widespread, hysterical reactions to perceived social problems, some are attacking basic mathematics, logic, grammar, and virtues as imperialistic and oppressive. It beggars the imagination, boggles the mind, and turns the stomach, but it’s sadly true. Is it “too white” to insist that 2+2=4? Should we no longer practice linear thinking, hard […]

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Education Department Proposes Title IX Regulation to Restrict Free Speech

The Biden administration has just proposed a Title IX regulation that would redefine sexual harassment more broadly in schools and universities, to restrict speech that some courts have ruled is protected by the First Amendment. The new definition would discard the current definition used by the Education Department, which is based on a 1999 Supreme […]

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Luxury Guilt Trip: Harvard Discovers Slavery

Are modern African Americans worse off for slavery? Harvard was directly complicit in America’s system of racial bondage from the College’s earliest days in the 17th century until slavery in Massachusetts ended in 1783, and Harvard continued to be indirectly involved through extensive financial and other ties to the slave South up to the time […]

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‘Heroes of Liberty’ Highlights Key Statesmen, Thinkers

Public controversies over the books children read in school are not going away. Numerous disputes have arisen as local school boards in states such as Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee have worked to make changes to the secondary literature used in classrooms. These efforts have been uniformly labeled “book banning,” which makes it difficult to distinguish […]

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Why Mount Royal University Authoritarians Focus on the “Impact” of Speech

In June 2022, Peter Boghossian posted a video featuring Dr. Lyell Asher, a professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, titled “Why Colleges are Becoming Cults.” Although Dr. Asher raised many important points, perhaps the most significant was his discussion of the commonly heard refrain in universities that “[i]t’s not the intention, but the […]

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When a Chemistry Journal Publishes a Sociologist on Climate and Energy

In an April 25, 2022 Chemical and Engineering News article, Holly Jean Buck, a “development sociologist,” expresses some peculiar views about fossil fuels that go beyond climate change. It is surprising to find them purveyed in a journal not of sociology or politics but of chemistry and engineering. For starters, Buck maintains, “achieving net-zero emissions […]

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Are We on the Wrong Side of Biology?

Is the battle to ensure an intellectually open campus winnable? Many would answer “yes,” but there are reasons for pessimism. To be blunt, the life of the mind, the veneration of truth over falsehood, and the pursuit of truth may not be the default option of human nature. Yes, that idyllic world may exist here […]

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Moving Forward: Is Legacy Higher Ed a Lost Cause?

When a man contravenes his stated principles, through word or through deed, we ought to first give him the benefit of the doubt. But when he does it the tenth, or hundredth, or thousandth time, we must conclude that he holds a different set of principles entirely. In other words, one’s words and actions are […]

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Compelling Diversity and Punishing Dissent

Universities’ misguided effort to enforce racial equity As universities’ obsession with race and pursuit of racial “equity” continues apace, the Board of Directors of California Community Colleges has decided that the system will now grade its employees, including, of course, its faculty, on the extent to which they promote “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility.” The […]

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Let Sarah Lawrence College Be a Warning

In a recent piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, interfaith leader Eboo Patel recounted his experience at a 2019 “Difference in Dialogue” program at Sarah Lawrence College, where I teach and where he was a panelist for an event entitled “Diversity is Not Just the Differences You Like.” At the time of the event, […]

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The Wrecker

How much would you pay for a brigantine beached and abandoned on Midway Atoll in the South Pacific? That’s the question faced by the main character of Robert Louis Stevenson and his step-son Lloyd Osbourne’s novel, The Wrecker (1892). The enterprising young man, Loudon Dodd, bids $50,000—something like $2,000,000 in today’s inflated dollars. Loudon’s reckless […]

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Reparations or Ransom?

California’s New Reparations Report Defies Gravity On June 1, 2022, the California Reparations Task Force, established by the passage of AB 3121 in 2020, released an interim report detailing generational harms of slavery and post-slavery government policies and practices on black Americans. The 492-page report makes sweeping policy recommendations such as zero-interest home loans, free […]

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Cornell, Due Process, and Liberal Education

Earlier this month in Vengalattore v. Cornell University, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit provided a welcome affirmation of colleges’ and universities’ obligation to respect due process on campus. The court resolved a technical question of law and remanded the case for consideration on the merits of critical elements of the […]

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Survival of the Smartest

The campus battle between proponents of intellectual merit and those of racial preferences in admissions has been a long and disappointing campaign. Nevertheless, victory now seems within reach thanks to the current Court’s likely opinion in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College. At long last, racial discrimination will—hopefully—end by […]

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Democracy in Danger: A Notice to the National Security Community

National security experts should help defend our democracy. They should begin by confronting the illiberalism in our universities. The Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security recently held an event titled “Democracy in Danger,” in which the speakers made several excellent points. They discussed the dangers of tribalism; ideologies which drive racial […]

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Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Would Be a Huge Mistake

President Joe Biden is considering a student loan forgiveness plan which would forgive $10,000 per borrower for individuals making less than $150,000 per year ($300,000 for a family). Without the income cap, this would cost $380.2 billion. It would wipe out the entire debt of those with a balance of $10,000 or less (15.2 million […]

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Self-Identified “Compelling Interests” are Not a License to Discriminate

To what extent can a selective educational institution advantage certain racial groups in admissions decisions without discriminating against other groups simultaneously? How can said institutions balance external demands for fairness and group representation with their core mission to educate students sufficiently? How much influence should an institution itself wield, compared with other stakeholders (including the […]

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