Year: 2019

The $44 Million Verdict Against Oberlin

Oberlin College just got hit again with a jury judgment that could cripple the college financially. Last Friday, the jury found the college guilty of libel and returned a verdict award of $11.2 million to Gibson’s, a local store and its proprietors. Today, the jury added $33 million in punitive damages – a clear sign […]

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Whitewashing the Harm Colleges Inflict on the Nation

Over the last half-century, higher education in America has been transformed from a quiet backwater with relatively little influence or cost into a powerful system responsible for or at least deeply complicit in numerous deleterious trends that are today wreaking havoc on the nation. A bill of indictment would have to include the following. The […]

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Student loan debt

Let’s Privatize State Colleges

Op-Ed. An estimated 14.67 million college students attend what we call “state universities.” Some of them are renowned highly selective research institutions like the University of California at Berkeley or the University of Michigan, while others are relatively obscure schools with an open admissions policy. But all receive some degree of subsidization from the state […]

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When Radical Ideologies Corrupt Universities

I keep being invited to talk about free speech on college campuses and every time I’m invited I make the same point: that this isn’t about free speech and this is only tangentially about college campuses. This is about a breakdown in the basic logic of civilization, and it’s spreading. College campuses may be the […]

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4 philosophers

Will the Universities Start to Collapse?

People used to talk about the ends of the university and how the academic establishment was failing its students. Today, more and more people are talking about the end of the university, the idea being that it is time to think about closing them rather than reforming them. Last month at a conference in London, […]

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Yet Another Attack on Due Process by Title IX

“It’s Title IX, not Miranda,” Susan Riseling, former chief of police at the University of Wisconsin-Madison told a conference of academic administrators in 2015. “Use what you can.” Riseling was describing a case in which a Wisconsin student had been subjected to both a criminal and a Title IX complaint. The police originally didn’t have enough […]

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Goodbye Humanities—Hating White Males Is Not a Curriculum

As the humanities continue their steady slide toward the margins of the campus, the faculty still can’t look in the mirror and face the sources of the problem. Last month in the Chronicle of Higher Education, four assistant professors of English responded to a previous essay about the state of the field and unintentionally revealed […]

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College Students Aren’t Even Learning New Words

People’s vocabularies are shrinking at a time when more and more people have college degrees. As Zach Goldberg notes, people’s mastery of hard words has been falling for well over 20 years, and their mastery of easier words has been falling for over 15 years. Meanwhile, a higher proportion of Americans have college degrees than […]

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Word by Word, SJW’s Are Changing America

It is not news that “social justice” ideology, supported by its pillars of “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equality of results,” has replaced liberal democratic culture in our government, university, and business offices. Instead of being treated as individuals, people are treated according to the racial, gender, sexual preference, and ethnic categories that they belong to. Instead […]

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The Final Corruption of the SAT’s

The College Board, ever alert to cultural signals, has decided the SATs can be improved by adopting what might be called McNeil methods. In the 1930s, Charles K. McNeil, a math teacher at Riverdale Country School in New York, indulged a not very respectable hobby of gambling on the side. Growing bored with picking winners […]

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Harvard Yields to an Angry Student Protest

The following is an excerpt from an op-ed in The New York Times by Randall Kennedy, a law professor at Harvard. I have been a professor at Harvard University for 34 years. In that time, the school has made some mistakes. But it has never so thoroughly embarrassed itself as it did this past weekend. […]

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Whatever Happened to Reading?

A recent article on the decline of reading by Steven Johnson for The Chronicle of Higher Education has drawn a good deal of attention. The article opens with David Joliffe, an English professor at the of the University of Arkansas, depicting his students’ inability to tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Johnson tells us this isn’t […]

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The Consequences of Forgiving $1.5 Trillion in Student Loans

Senator and Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) recently proposed a policy to cancel student loan debt. She wants to cancel up to $50,000 of debt for borrowers with annual household incomes under $250,00, including full cancellation for households with incomes under $100,000. It would be financed with an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” – a massive redistribution […]

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The Wolves of the Academy

University faculty have been notable for “odd” views, but today’s campuses are manufacturing screwball ideas on an industrial scale. Moreover, these ideas are hardly harmless unlike say, Esperanto.  Rather, they resemble toxic pathogens that have escaped a supposedly secure lab, and now cause untold harm in society more generally. I am talking about the likes […]

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Google, Facebook Censorship ‘A Mistake’

Last week Google told the Claremont Institute that the Institute’s advertisements for its annual conference were banned. This act of censorship by the internet giant followed Facebook’s announcement that it was banning Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Paul Watson. Ryan P. Williams, the president of the Claremont Institute, posted his account of what […]

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The Birth of a Nation

Last month, Chapman University’s film school removed from the walls posters that students and many professors deemed offensive. They were original posters promoting Birth of a Nation, D. W. Griffith’s sweeping silent classic set during the Civil War and after. The film was fabulously successful in its day, and historians regard it as a breakthrough […]

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BDS Israel

Rampant Hypocrisy at UMass

Which is it? Do universities these days want to be zones where no one will ever get offended, or do they want to promote free speech and academic freedom with all their attendant risks and discomforts? The University of Massachusetts Amherst is just one place that can’t make up its mind. For years now it […]

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News and Fake News About College Admissions

As demonstrated by both the complaint that Harvard discriminates against Asians (the Boston federal district judge’s decision is presumably imminent) and the furor over the spreading pay-to-admit scandal of rich parents buying their kids’ admission to selective colleges, affirmative action remains a hotly contested matter of ongoing public debate. The latest brouhaha comes from Washington […]

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The War Against White People

Anti-white hate is now mainstream American culture. Not just by racial extremists such as Black Lives Matter, for whom statements such as “all lives matter” or “blue lives matter” are racist. Our highest leaders sing the same song. Presidential candidate Barack Obama said of working class, white voters in 2008, “They get bitter, they cling […]

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Before You Donate to Your Alma Mater…

Colleges and universities can be relentless in pursuing their graduates for donations. They publish alumni magazines with glowing accounts of their faculty, students, and alumni, sponsor “Alumni Weekends” to show off new buildings and hear success stories, and of course, mail out regular solicitations with convenient return envelopes for donations. Although I have donated in […]

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How Nine Universities Pander to Campus Radicals

In higher education, disgraceful scandals and major embarrassments once arrived one by one. Now, they appear in clusters, like epidemics we should have been expecting. Take the University of Tulsa, suddenly in the grip of a “strategic plan” aimed at marketing the university to students who are career-oriented and lured by the idea of fighting […]

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Free speech censored

Why Don’t More College Leaders Back Free Speech?

You might think that higher education leaders, who have almost all been steeped in the academic traditions of the free exchange of ideas, would uniformly stand up for free speech. Learning about those traditions is, after all, a key part of what college should be about for students. Sadly, college officials often bow down to […]

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Male and female gender symbols in fire of love

A Fantasy for the Sexes

Op-Ed: In contemporary America, women and men still act out ancient roles. From the point of view of the men, the society is a matriarchy: Women have physically less demanding jobs — with the sole exception of childbirth, by now a rare event in the average woman’s life. Women sustain far fewer injuries on the […]

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the poison of identity politics

Want Viewpoint Diversity on Campus? Here’s How

From supporting shout-downs and intimidation of conservative speakers to denying due process to students accused of sexual assault, stories regularly emerge that chronicle the liberal lopsidedness and lack of true viewpoint diversity among campus administrators. It is widely known that these omnipresent administrators – mid-tier staffers who occupy dozens of offices including diversity and inclusion, […]

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How Diversity Training Widens the Gulf Among the Races

Two students wore blackface at the University of Tennessee in a Snapchat image with a racist caption. The University is responding by putting tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff through sensitivity training. It may even require the 186,000 minors participating in the state’s 4-H program to attend sensitivity training. It will also require students […]

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Major Victory for Montague in Yale Lawsuit

In an interview last year with ESPN, former OCR head Catherine Lhamon gushed, “The capturing of the hearts and minds of the American public is what has moved this issue. The response of student communities to sexual violence among athletes has been really important.” Lhamon could have been referring to the expulsion of former Yale […]

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BDS Israel

Anti-Semitism Growing on America’s Campuses

As Anti-Semitism continues to grow unchecked on colleges campuses, and within a small cohort currently serving in the United States Congress, Belgium offers a glimpse into a frightening future for us if the hateful rhetoric is allowed to escalate. During the same week that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) complained about undue Jewish influence in this […]

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Harvard Flinches and Admits a Few More Asians

Despite being a small minority (5.8%) of the U.S. population, Asian-Americans have long been, and remain, at the center of current controversies over college admissions. Consider the relationship, if any, among the following: Students For Fair Admissions suing Harvard for discrimination against Asians. Harvard’s Admitted Class Has Record Share of Asian Americans. “Last week, Harvard […]

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Manchurian Candidate

The Looming Danger for Dissident Professors

Dissenting from the powerful progressive currents on our nation’s campuses can be very dangerous. Those who challenge the orthodox norms find little support among faculty, students, and administrators and can be severely punished socially and professionally. As I wrote here last week, students know that asking certain questions or holding particular public views can result […]

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More Diversity, Lower Standards

The English departments of Cornell and Harvard have dropped the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirement for graduate applicants—a noteworthy move that amounts to a setback for the quality of education and a win for diversity and lower standards. Insidehighered.com reports the Cornell development and includes a link to a candid statement from the English department […]

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