Month: September 2022

Biden’s New Student Loan Repayment Plan Would Ruin Student Lending

While President Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness plan is justifiably getting most of the attention in the higher education policy world, he also proposed a new student loan repayment program that fundamentally undermines a definitional aspect of loans—repayment. Under this new plan, the median bachelor’s degree recipient will only owe $68 a month, regardless of […]

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Schools of Intellectual Freedom: Coming to a University Near You?

An increasing number of states have created, or are considering creating, autonomous schools within public universities, where depoliticized scholarship can flourish with institutional protections from the radical, illiberal monoculture of the higher education establishment. In 2016, the Arizona legislature created the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL) at Arizona State University (ASU). […]

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Assessing the REAL Reforms Act: Limits on Secretarial Authority

Editor’s Note: “Assessing the REAL Reforms Act” is a new Minding the Campus symposium that will closely analyze the Responsible Education Assistance through Loan (REAL) Reforms Act, a bill recently introduced by Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Elise Stefanik, (R-NY), and Jim Banks (R-IN). The bill “offers commonsense and fiscally responsible reforms to benefit students and […]

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Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Land Acknowledgement: A Woke Paradox

Whenever the associate vice president for faculty and staff diversity at San Diego State University (SDSU) sends an email from work, her signature identifies the school as “a proud Hispanic Serving Institution, located in the territory of the Kumeyaay nations.” This kind of statement, not uncommon in contemporary academia, is a comical demonstration of our […]

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The Los Alamos Club: Cowardice Has Consequences

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has engaged in research theft and academic espionage in American higher education for some time. Whether it be on the institutional level through Confucius Institutes or on the individual level through the Thousand Talents Plan and other “talent programs,” the last five years have made abundantly clear that China […]

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Administrative Bloat and Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness

Reckless and wasteful spending by diversity-obsessed administrators is one of the real causes of the student debt crisis In a nod to his progressive base, one that seems to be a naked tactic to buy the votes of young, educated future Democrats, President Biden has made good on at least one of his campaign promises. […]

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National Suicide by Education

It’s true that children are our future, for good or ill, depending on their education. Ill-educate children, as we are doing in the United States and Canada, and the result will be cultural decay, social breakdown, and political decline. We now teach our children that our country is illegitimate, based on genocide and racism, and […]

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The Academic Basis of Modern Totalitarianism

Notable during the pandemic was the reluctance to view events from a psychological perspective, particularly that of collective psychology. One of the very few who did so was a professor in Belgium named Mattias Desmet. A professor of clinical psychology in the Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University, as well as a […]

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Going Woke Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card

American school districts need new policies to guide their librarians in their acquisitions practices. New policies, which provide explicit guidelines on political pluralism and obscenity, as well as reaffirming librarians’ deference to parental preferences for their minor children, would do a great deal to defuse the political battles that have flared up about the contents […]

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The Artists United Will Never Be Defeated … Or Will They?

In 1975, Frederic Rzewski composed his 36-variation piano piece The People United Will Never Be Defeated! in response to the struggles of the Chilean people under the new rule of Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet, whose dictatorship usurped the leftist Unidad Popular coalition in 1973, came under heavy criticism from artists of the time, especially since the […]

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Hamilton College and Deputy Prime Minister Iglesias of Spain

Cosmopolitan Leftism in Higher Education Hamilton College lies in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region of upstate New York about three miles west of the gingerbread town of Clinton. Coming north from Philadelphia, you follow the exits off the turnpike and take Franklin Avenue into town. Hang a left after Tony’s Pizzeria, go west on College […]

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Four Things We Should Teach Children about the Constitution

When we think of the United States Constitution, we probably consider the structure it gives to our national government. We may think of its presence at the center of political controversies past and present. Or we may think of ways in which the document has been neglected. But as we mark the 235th anniversary of […]

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Are We Living in a Christ-Animating Simulation?

One of the laboratory procedures we teach to first-year general chemistry students involves measuring the wavelengths of the visible emission spectra of several elements including hydrogen, helium, neon, and mercury. I begin my class with a short, non-conventional lecture that includes the trailer from The Matrix.  It is fitting to introduce the basic principles of […]

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University Professors Love ‘Social Justice’ and Critical Race Theory, but Hate Israel

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) earlier this year courageously took a stand against “threats to academic freedom.” The AAUP statement identifies the most serious threats to academic freedom today. No, the threat to academic freedom, according to the AAUP, is not the “social justice” political ideology that has become mandatory for all university […]

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Reimagining College: Three New Schools

Most American colleges and universities are fiercely resistant to major change. The staff, especially administrators and senior faculty, think they “own” the institutions and enjoy their dominant role. Yet enrollment data and public opinion polls show that Americans increasingly take of dim view of our colleges and universities. Some think the only way to effect […]

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In the Fight for Free Speech, Courage is Contagious

Donna Shalala, the former president of my alma mater—the University of Miami (UM)—who also held a professorship in my Department of International Studies during her UM tenure, once defended academic freedom: You can’t have a university without having free speech, even though at times it makes us terribly uncomfortable. If students are not going to […]

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Even Liberal Students Are Afraid to Speak

Free speech and open expression—the very keystones of higher education—are under threat. This is an issue that now impacts all students, not just those on the Right. Earlier this week, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) released its 2022 study of student perceptions of free speech on college campuses—the results are sobering. Sampling […]

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Is There a Defense of the Critical Classroom? Part Two: Individual Identity and Social Relations

In Part One of this essay, I analyzed the ways in which two contrasting lenses—the liberal lens and the critical lens—affect postsecondary administrative practices and curricular development. I also asked whether there is any defense of the critical lens in education. To read my assessment of those two subjects and to get more background on […]

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Lowery v. Texas A&M University System: The Beginning of the End of DEI Discrimination?

Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the state of the American academy today knows that employment discrimination runs rampant on campus. Not the old-fashioned kind where women, blacks, Jews, Catholics, Asians, gays, or communists were excluded from employment opportunities, but the modern Kendian variety, in which overt discrimination against white men (and, in many […]

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Disordered Aesthetics, Disordered Morals

Civic Architecture In May 2021 and April 2022, the Biden administration removed five members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. They did so as part of their fervid campaign to remove from the federal government all appointees of the Trump administration—even appointees in components of the federal government which previously presumed bipartisan comity. In […]

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Measuring the Spread of DEI

A constant concern in my academic sub-field of comparative politics is how to create concepts and measurements that stand up to scrutiny when applied to several cases. When we hear someone claim that politics in Country X are “corrupt,” our first questions are “What do you mean by corruption?” and “Compared to where?” This concern […]

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What Will U-Austin Teach? Will It Have a Core, Perhaps of Statesmanship?

When I consider what academe has become, I feel like a boy at the grave of my father. The Harvard I arrived at in 1960, with its Gen-Ed core inspired by the Red Book of 1948, with Finley and Alfred, with Riesman and Erikson, with Harry Levin, George Wald, and Charles Paul Segal, and with […]

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Barbara Ehrenreich, RIP (1941–2022)

Barbara Ehrenreich passed away on September 1, 2022, at the age of 81. She died in a hospice care facility. According to her daughter, Rosa Brooks, she was killed by a stroke. I had long dismissed Barbara Ehrenreich as a typical denizen of what I call NPR World. I want to be clear that I […]

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Muzzling Free Speech at Berkeley Law

It is not an uncommon occurrence at universities that certain unapproved speech is suppressed because it does not conform to prevailing ideologies. As part of what is now labeled “cancel culture”—purging thought and ideas that conflict with leftism—this unfortunate trend has shown itself at law schools as well, where lawyers in training have felt no […]

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Is There a Defense of the Critical Classroom? Part One: Administration and Curriculum

The Critical Classroom, a book published by the Heritage Foundation, makes cogent arguments against structuring the classroom with the lens of critical theory. Still, I would have liked to read an article in the book defending the critical classroom. Perhaps I could play the role of an imagined interlocutor, but my attempt at exploring the […]

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Defund Gender Studies

The Wyoming State Legislature recently considered a bill to defund gender studies at its public universities—although they ultimately did not turn this bill into law. The bill followed parallel efforts abroad, notably in Hungary, to defund gender studies. A previously unthinkable extension of the government into university affairs has now been mooted. Gender studies (a.k.a., […]

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“To Be or Not to Be?”: Shakespeare, Freedom, and China

In 2013, Thor Halvorssen and Alexander Lloyd released balloons with thumb drives into North Korea. I’m not sure what the drives contained exactly or whether they led to any changes there. I suppose such drives did not need to contain anything to cause consternation. Such a “hack,” as they called it, is worthwhile if only […]

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The Chronicle Airbrushes Affirmative Action

airbrush, noun … to remove or alter by or as by means of an airbrush: to airbrush facial lines from a photograph. … to prettify or sanitize: airbrushed versions of modern history. Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez writes a regular newsletter called “Race on Campus” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her most recent issue purports to inform readers on “What […]

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Higher Ed Discovers the Joys of Sex

Colleges and universities were once bare-bones places. Dorm rooms had all the charm of a Motel 6 and school-run cafeterias were comparable to those in high school. Recreation was, maybe, a TV room and a musty gym for pick-up basketball. No matter—education was about learning, not personal indulgence. But, as tuition soars and competition for […]

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The Biden Loan Forgiveness: Additional Thoughts

Like many other followers of the higher education scene, I weighed in on the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program last week, concluding that it was bad for America. In one iteration, I listed seven words beginning with the letter “I” to describe the policy action: illegal, inflationary, immoral, inequitable, irresponsible, irrational, and idiotic. This […]

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