A professor’s resignation highlights pressures within academia to conform
“In his resignation letter, Mr Boghossian wrote that the university had been changed from 'a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division'. Students at PSU are 'being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues,' he wrote. A spokeswoman for the college retorted that, 'Portland State has always been and will continue to be a welcoming home for free speech and academic freedom.'” - The Economist, 9/25/21
The UT Austin Liberty Institute? What’s That?
“Faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin still have lots of questions about the Liberty Institute, a think tank apparently coming to campus. That’s even after the university provost addressed the matter at a recent Faculty Council meeting. What more do professors want to know? 'Everything,' said Domino Renee Perez, chair of UT Austin’s Faculty Council and associate professor of English. 'The faculty need to hear directly from the president, since he is the one who identified this as a priority for the university.'” - Inside Higher Ed, 9/24/21
Investigation into antisemitic symbols at AU ‘inconclusive,’ officials say
“Sylvia M. Burwell, the school’s president, said in a message to the campus this week that officials do not know who is responsible or why the perpetrator drew the symbols. There had not been any previous reports of graffiti in the area, located on the lower level of Anderson Hall, a dorm for first-year students. ... American University Hillel, a student-run organization, took to Facebook in the wake of the incident to reemphasize its mission to support Jewish students.” - Washington Post, 9/24/21
Archivists Serve Historians? A Case of Academic Hubris
“In early August, archivists and other scholars erupted in protest when the American Historical Association (AHA) wrote a letter asking broad questions about how archives plan to reopen. The AHA framed its letter as an effort to advocate for professional historians and countless other researchers who were without access to most physical archives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet the letter was received—whatever its intentions—as a callous call for archivists to serve historians. It appeared to many readers like a pretentious professional association positioning itself at the apex of an academic hierarchy and then trying to punch down.” - The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, 9/24/21
Education Secretary Cardona backs mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for students
“Cardona said that in general, he believes governors, not school superintendents, should implement the mandates. 'I really want to make sure that governors and health officials are driving the communication around public health measures, which vaccinations are,' he said. Cardona had been hesitant to vigorously promote vaccination, but he said that changed after the FDA gave full approval of a coronavirus vaccine for those ages 16 and up. Those ages 12-15 are eligible for shots under an emergency authorization.” - Washington Post, 9/23/21
Could a New Republican Bill Save Campus Free Speech?
“This summer, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) introduced the Campus Free Speech Restoration Act, designed to enhance free expression in American universities. Murphy’s bill defines 'expressive activities' to include peaceful assembly, speaking and listening, and protects them from 'improperly restrictive' institutional incursions, such as speech codes, bias response teams and 'free speech zones.' It’s sad that such legislation is needed, but college is now a place where free inquiry, free speech and intellectual growth are imperiled.” - Manhattan Institute, 9/23/21
A President Said a Trustee Was Overstepping. Months Later, the President Was Fired.
“Eight months after a college president asked trustees to correct what he considered inappropriate behavior from the board chair — a chair who, according to the president, had once implied that the leader would be fired if he didn’t cooperate with the chair’s wishes — he was fired, effective end of day Thursday. Three of the five Board of Trustees members at North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, voted at a public meeting on Wednesday to terminate Rick MacLennan, the president, without cause.” - Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/23/21
College Board announces easier CSS Profile, plus a 'lighter, shorter' version
“Students from families earning up to $100,000 will now be able to freely apply to the College Board's CSS Profile, a tool used by some 300 colleges to award students institutional financial aid packages. In an announcement Wednesday, the College Board also said it would make the CSS Profile easier to complete and create a lighter version for colleges that need less information than the current one requires students to provide. Lifting the income cap for the fee waiver from about $45,000 or less for a family of four to the new level will double the number of students who can freely apply, according to the College Board.” - Higher Ed Dive, 9/23/21
Despite mediocre records, for-profit online charter schools are selling parents on staying virtual
“Overall, about 63 percent of virtual for-profit schools — most of which are charter schools — were rated unacceptable by their states in the latest year for which data was available, according to a May report by the University of Colorado’s National Education Policy Center (NEPC). Online charters typically lag behind other schools on measures including student academic outcomes and graduation rates, and they have also been plagued by high student turnover.” - Washington Post, 9/23/21
NACAC chief executive announces a new mission and vision statement
“The imperative — that higher education, being essential to a free society, should be accessible to all who seek it — has been with us for more than half a century. Across that span of time, the college-going population and the higher education landscape have transformed dramatically. Today, the organization I'm privileged to lead, the National Association for College Admission Counseling , is working to reaffirm and respond to that imperative. In doing so, we embrace and amplify the bold assertion that higher education is a public good.” - Higher Ed Dive, 9/23/21