Month: February 2012

The Latest Sad Protests at Duke

As KC Johnson explained here a study by social scientists at Duke found that African American students “disproportionately migrate from science and engineering majors to less challenging majors in the humanities,” thus questioning the benefits of preferential admissions. In response, faculty members and student groups protested. It’s important to examine the actual content of those […]

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Libertarianism Is Not the Answer

I have to agree with Patrick Deneen and disagree with George Leef about the worrisome nature of rising libertarianism among students today. It is a troublesome development in my view. For Deneen, this trend essentially means a kind of “laissez faire” selfishness among students that emphasizes personal autonomy and material success and doesn’t allow for […]

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A Simple Solution to a Big College Problem–SURs

What is the college graduation rate in this country? Correct answer: nobody knows. All the statistics you’ve read about are at best partial truths. We basically track graduation only for “traditional” students. The problem is that these “traditional” students are no longer representative – most college students are now “non-traditional”: 38 percent of students enroll […]

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Admission Standards and How to Lower Them Legally

Surprise, surprise. Affirmation action for college admissions is yet one more time in the hands of the Supreme Court (Fisher v. Texas). Given the Court’s changed personnel from the last go around (Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 2003), race-based preferences may soon be history. But, would this judicial outcome finally doom preferences? Opponents of […]

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Foolish Defense of the Politicized University

Political observers might have noticed that hostility to higher education has formed a sub-theme of the Republican presidential race. Mitt Romney has criticized Barack Obama for embracing the ideals of the “Harvard faculty lounge.” Rick Santorum, more recently, has faulted Obama for encouraging all students to attend college, which the former Pennsylvania senator has termed […]

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A Funny Book about Worthless Degrees

“Here are some [college] degrees that cost you roughly $30,000 in tuition, their much cheaper replacements, and the savings you’d realize:                   Degree                                  Replacement                                        Savings                   Foreign Languages                 Language Software                               $29,721                   Philosophy                             Read Socrates                                    $29,980                   Women’s Studies                   Watch Daytime TV                               $30,000                   Journalism                             Start […]

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A Struggle to Reform the CUNY Curriculum

There have been two interesting, if somewhat under the radar, higher education developments recently in New York City. First, on Tuesday, the CUNY Board of Trustees continued its consideration of the administration’s proposed general-education curriculum plan, called Pathways. The proposal calls for a mandatory 30 credits of core offerings for all CUNY students, divided between […]

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What Will the Court Do About Affirmative Action?

As you probably know by now, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. Texas, depending on your point of view a promising or threatening challenge to affirmative action. Major and minor media, blogs, whatever, are all filled with cries of hope or wails of fear that the racial preferences sanctified in Grutter will […]

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More Depressing News from Duke

For insight into the corruption of the modern academy, look no further than Heather MacDonald’s extraordinary article on the recent controversy at Duke. Two Duke professors, Peter Arcidiacono and Ken Spenner, and a graduate student, Esteban Aucejo, produced a paper showing that African-American students at Duke disproportionately migrate from science and engineering majors to less […]

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A Harvard Apologist for China’s One-Child Brutality

The phrase “dominant narrative” is a sure sign that a postmodern, anti-Western or anti-male story line is about two seconds away. It appears early in a flattering Harvard Gazette profile of Susan Greenhalgh, “the newest professor of anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences” at Harvard. The profiler, Katie Koch of the Harvard Gazette […]

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No Need for Congress to Act–I’m President, So I’ll Do It Myself

Watch this space. I will be posting something shortly (but not short) on a proposed presidential executive order that would impose by White House fiat the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (discussed here and here), which serial Congresses have refused to pass.

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Libertarianism Among Students is the Least of our Worries

Professor Patrick Deneen’s Feb. 17 essay “Campus Libertarianism up, Civic Commitment Down” cries out for a response. He finds the apparent increase in libertarian thinking among college students disquieting, but I think that if this trend is real, it’s a reason for optimism. It indicates that young Americans are breaking free of the adulation of […]

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Confusion over Anti-Asian Discrimination

At the request of the unidentified Asian-American student who filed discrimination complaints against Harvard and Princeton, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has ended its investigation. The civil rights office had folded the complaint against Princeton … into a compliance review begun in 2008 of whether that university discriminates against Asian-Americans. The allegations […]

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Why They Seem to Rise Together:
Federal Aid and College Tuition

It’s called “the Bennett Hypothesis,” and it explains–or tries to explain–why the cost of college lies so tantalizingly out of reach for so many. In 1987, then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett launched a quarter century of debate by saying, in effect, “Federal aid doesn’t help; colleges and universities just cream off the extra […]

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Campus Libertarianism up, Civic Commitment Down

One of the most mentioned findings in the annual UCLA survey of college freshmen is a decided trend toward more “liberal” political attitudes. The survey shows increased support for same-sex marriage (supported by 71.3% of students, representing a 6.4% increase since 2009); for a pro-choice position on abortion; for the legalization of marijuana; and a […]

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Let the Free Market Set College Tuition

When President Obama talked about unaffordable college tuition, he failed to point out that federal subsidies are responsible for much of the unaffordability. In his State of the Union message, he said, “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.” However, since tuition is dependent on […]

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Is Investing in Community Colleges a Good Idea?

President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget contains an $8 billion program called the “Community College to Career Fund.” It would encourage community colleges, in partnerships with employers, to train about two million workers for future jobs. Since there are about 1,045 community colleges in America, the program would amount to a grant–over three years–of a little […]

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What Has Happened to Academic Freedom?

Dr. London, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute, received the Jeane Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom on February 9 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the American Conservative Union Foundation. These were his remarks on the occasion. *** It is with enormous humility and gratitude that I accept this award from the […]

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FERPA and a Student Who Might Make a Professor Cringe

In a case highlighted by FIRE, Oakland University in Michigan issued a three-semester suspension to a student named Joseph Corlett, allegedly in response to some of Corlett’s in-class writings that passed well beyond the bounds of good taste (in a writing journal, he ruminated on the sexual attractiveness of his female professors) and to Corbett’s […]

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Students More Liberal? Not So Fast

“Political and Social Views Decidedly More Liberal.”  That’s the first finding in the 2011 American Freshman Survey, a project of the Higher Education Research Initiative at UCLA, one of the largest annual surveys of college students.  Last year, the Survey chalked up 204,000 first-year-of-college respondents who filled out a lengthy questionnaire on behaviors, attitudes, and […]

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Is This Professor ‘Distinguished’?

Volokh Conspiracy’s David Bernstein posted a scathing review of Eric Alterman’s recent Nation column. The piece purported to analyze contemporary political culture through the prism of Newt Gingrich’s super PAC patron, Sheldon Adelson. Writing in what Bernstein termed a “passive/aggressive” style, Alterman described the casino mogul’s behavior as conforming to virtually stereotype of Jews held […]

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The White Male Shortage on Campus

Soviet ideologues were famous for adjusting Marxism to the zigs and zags of history, but they were pikers compared to today’s campus affirmative-action apparatchiks. The latest installment from university diversicrats is–ready for this–affirmative action for men, not black or Hispanic men, but white men (see here and here and especially here). Allan Bakke, come back, […]

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Holy Toledo! Who Needs Free Speech?

Consider the following two cases: • Crystal Smith, VP for Human Resources at a small historically black state college in the deep South, was fired for her published letter in the local newspaper praising affirmative action and condemning Ward Connerly as a bigoted Uncle Tom because of his opposition to race preferences. In dismissing her […]

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A Bastion of American Values in the Arab Middle East

As the Arab Spring uprisings transform the history and face of the Arab world, the American University of Beirut, the oldest and most prestigious private university in the Arab Middle East, is preparing to launch the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in its 145-year history. The campaign will seek to raise more than $400 million dollars […]

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Why Not Hire Your Own Adjunct? They Are Very Inexpensive

The cheeky blog Edububble offers a modest proposal: Since college tuition is so high, why not skip the campus middleman and “hire your own professor” as a private tutor? You think you can’t afford that? You’re wrong. While it’s true that hiring a $300,000-a-year academic superstar from Harvard would break the bank for most students […]

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The Good-Hearted, Wrong-Headed Anti-Bullying Campaign

Cross-posted from Open Market “It launched a hundred ‘anti-bullying’ initiatives at all levels of government, but much of what you think you know about” the Tyler Clementi case “is probably wrong,” notes legal commentator Walter Olson at Overlawyered, the world’s oldest law blog. Andrew Sullivan discusses this as well, linking to Ian Parker’s article in […]

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Competition and Choice Bring Reform, but There’s a Problem

In 1970, less than 10% of Finland’s students graduated from high school. Now most students do, and Finland is one of the highest-scoring countries on the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests for l5-year-olds in mathematics, science and reading.

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Please Don’t Sue If You Hate This Item

Two former students of Thurgood Marshall School of Law are suing the school for giving them poor marks. Walter Olson of overlawyered.com offered this comment: “Doesn’t it sort of prove you deserve the bad law-school grade when you bring a frivolous lawsuit over it?”

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A Settlement on Strange Harassment Charges

Lawrence Connell has won vindication–of sorts. He is the tenured criminal-law professor who was suspended for a year without pay by Widener University’s law school last August and forced to undergo a psychiatric examination and treatment as a condition of his return, despite having been cleared by two separate faculty panels of allegations of sexual […]

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