Author: John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

Evergreen College Gets an ‘F’ In Lessons Learned

When Branch Rickey picked Jackie Robinson to integrate major league baseball, Ford Frick, president of the National League, turned out to be an unexpected hero. Four Dodgers demanded to be traded and a group of St. Louis Cardinals said they would go on strike rather than take the field against Jackie. Frick crushed the rising […]

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Dogs at Yale

Yale Students Get Their Own Animal House

Several sites that deal with college life have been reporting that Yale University–which forbids pets on campus–has been allowing students who need animal companionship for medical reasons—and have a doctor’s letters to prove it–to have “comfort animals” on campus. But this is old news, as it turns out: the Yale Daily News reported that story […]

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Why Pomona Students Are Afraid to Say What They Think

Nearly 90 percent of Pomona College students surveyed in a new Gallup-Knight Foundation poll believe that the campus climate prevents them from saying something others might find offensive. The poll, conducted by Gallup for the college, reached about 35 percent of students and 65 percent of faculty. The Claremont Independent, the campus conservative paper, says […]

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Taking a Stand on Gender Equity—for Men

Quick Read! A doctoral student at the University of Southern California with no Connection to Yale has filed a Title IX complaint against Yale’s affirmative action programs for women. The student, Kursat Christoff Pekgoz alleges that since women do better than men in gaining admission and academic performance at Yale, there is no basis for […]

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Free Speech Discourse on the Dark Web

Bari Weiss of The New York Times has a long opinion piece on “The intellectual dark web,” meaning a collection of intellectuals, left, right and center who are amassing large audiences outside of the collection of liberals who preside over the suffocatingly conventional opinions in politics, journalism, and academe. Jordan Peterson is there, along with […]

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Harvard’s Bootcamp for Social Justice Warriors

We notice that Harvard University is now offering a “social justice certificate,” based on 16-course credits over 18 to 36 months at a cost of $10,800. “Explore theoretical and practical questions of economic, political, and social rights through a variety of lenses,” says the pitch on the Harvard site. “Through this liberal arts graduate certificate, […]

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Free speech censored

A New Tactic to Undermine Free Speech?

“The anarchic left” may be adopting a new tactic to stifle free speech on campus: rather than direct shout-downs of speakers they oppose, thus risking arrest and punishment, they may be turning to persistent heckling, says Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars. On April 18, the conservative activist group Turning Point USA […]

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Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump

Why Do Colleges Admit Students Who Can’t Do the Work?

QUICK READ… Every year, American schools get their annual report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP), and like all depressing report cards, it is whisked out of sight as quickly as possible. The nation’s public schools are a mess. Only 37 percent of 12th graders tested proficient in reading and only 25 percent in […]

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College Graduates

Welcome to the New Look of Minding the Campus

Dear Reader: We’ve chosen a cleaner and more modern design and made a number of small changes that we think make the site more readable and easier to navigate. –We’ve eliminated the distinction between essays and short takes. –We’ve added a feature in the right rail called ‘Notable’—short items we think you should see. –‘Commentary,’ […]

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Exclusive: New Harvard Prez Nearly Won “Sheldon” Award

We note that Lawrence Bacow has been named the president of Harvard, succeeding Drew Gilpin Faust, who held the office for 11 years. Mysteriously missing from the news coverage was the fact that Bacow was a 2007 finalist for the “Sheldon,” our coveted award for worst college president of the year. The award is a […]

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Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson and the Lobsters

Not many academics use lobsters as a stepping stone to fame, but Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson just did. Last week, he was being questioned by a British journalist named Cathy Newman in what may have been one of the most maladroit interviews in the entire history of journalism. Every time Peterson made a point, Newman […]

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Students Push Georgetown Toward Ideological Diversity

The editorial board of the Georgetown student paper is pushing the university to adopt ideological diversity by acquiring a few conservative teachers. In September, the board of The Hoya ran this statement in their September editorial: “One of the hallmarks of higher education is the opportunity to understand and grapple with a wide range of […]

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The Rising Danger of Left-Right Tribalism

Ignore the unfortunate headline (“America Wasn’t Built for Humans”). This is a   brilliant essay by Andrew Sullivan from the September 19 issue of New York Magazine, sure to irritate both the right and left, on the dangerous tribalism Americans have fallen into. An excerpt: Not all resistance to mass immigration or multiculturalism is mere racism or […]

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Eight Ideas Forbidden on Campus

Heather MacDonald, writing in The Wall St. Journal, says there is a new list of forbidden ideas that can’t be mentioned on the modern college campus. Scott Johnson at Power Line cites the same list but says that even thinking the guilty thoughts puts you at risk of saying them out loud, and they must […]

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The Revolution Turns on Its Base

The assistant professor probably thought she was safe from the madcap race-and-gender left since she was of mixed-race, queer and lecturing on Sappho. But she was woefully wrong. Black-clad demonstrators called her a “race traitor for not opposing the Humanities Syllabus, and they insisted she was “ableist” and a “gaslighter,” a relatively new insult of the […]

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A Version of Antifa on Campus

Bad news from the Chronicle of Higher Education: the anti-fascist movement, still very small, is organizing on campus, recruiting faculty, students and administrators, and making an improbable bid for respectability. Under the mild headline, “Faculty Members Organize to fight ‘Fascist’ Interlopers on Campus,” reporter Nell Gluckman says the recruiters are not explicitly aligned with the […]

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China’s Propaganda Arm on U.S. Campuses

More than 100 U.S. colleges and universities have allowed Confucian Institutes on their campuses. These institutes, sponsored and paid for by the Chinese government, yield a good deal of sway to  China over the curriculum and hiring of teachers, sometimes outsourcing control. As a result, several universities, including the University of Chicago, have closed their […]

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A Sad Goodbye to a Great Friend

Peter Augustine Lawler of Berry College, one of our best writers, has passed away at age 65. His last article for us appeared here last Thursday, “The  Withering Away of the College Professor,” an excerpt from his last book, American Heresies and Higher Education.  We extend our deepest sympathies to his family. He will be […]

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Fake Hate in Minnesota

So, the report of a racial threat at very tiny and very liberal St.Olaf College in Minnesota was a hoax. On April 29 Samantha Wells, a black student at the college, reported discovering a note on the windshield of her car with the message, “I am so glad that you are leaving soon. One less […]

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The Middlebury Punishment Is Finally Here

Those of you waiting to see the decisive smackdown of the Middlebury demonstrators who thought it was a good idea to shut down the Charles Murray talk, well, here it is: a letter will be placed in the files of some 30 students, and it won’t be removed until the end of the school year. […]

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Marquette Can Fire McAdams over Gay Marriage Post, Judge Says

A Milwaukee County judge ruled today that Marquette University has the right to terminate tenured political science Professor John McAdams for writing on his blog in 2014 that Cheryl Abbate, a teaching graduate student, had refused to allow someone in her ethics class to make a negative argument on gay marriage. Abbate told the student […]

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Racial Conflict on an Unlikely Campus

St. Olaf, a tiny Lutheran college in rural Minnesota, a very liberal campus where four of every five students backed Hillary Clinton for president and where conservative and pro-Trump students have been cursed and threatened, is the improbable site of the latest campus racial conflict. Black students took over the cafeteria during dinner, blocked entrances […]

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Radicals Stop a Rose Festival

I saw this on Althouse, Ann Althouse’s excellent blog: “You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” said the anonymous email that caused Portland, Oregon, to cancel its Rose Festival Parade. The local frenzied left said it […]

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berkeley-free-speech-movement-1964

Colleges Still Lack Integrity on Canceled Speeches

At Middlebury, where Charles Murray was prevented from speaking about the disintegrating white working class, college president Laurie Patton made some appropriate comments on the need for free speech. But her remarks seemed slightly out of focus, as if the crisis revolved around discord between two groups of students, not basic freedom of expression, and […]

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Some Faculty Say Diversity Lowers Academic Quality

Harvey Mudd College has been roiled by a self-study, informally titled the Wabash report, that referred to some anonymous faculty declaring that efforts to promote diversity in the student body had lowered the quality of the school.  At first, the school tried to block publication or censor parts of the report, completed in 2015, but […]

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Without a Known Complaint, the Feds Can Force an Accused Student Out of his Dorm and Some Classes

A college student accused of sexual assault or harassment can have his dorm and class schedule changed without knowing who accused him or what the accusation is. An administrator at a well-regarded eastern college says this: “A student who accuses another student of violating campus policy as it relates to sexual assault or harassment may […]

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A Catholic Professor’s Problems at a Catholic College

Anthony Esolen is an embattled professor at Providence (R.I.) College, an aggressively Catholic believer at an institution run by Dominican priests but less forthrightly Catholic than he is. Esolen teaches Renaissance literature and the development of Western culture. Among his books is a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy regarded as one of the best. He […]

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Language Tricks on the Quad

What is “symbolic violence”? A popular PC language maneuver, taking something non-violent and associating it with danger and crime. A rhetorical trick that creates and magnifies a sense of crisis among campus activists. Here is a guide to proper usage. You too can translate from PC to English. Visual Rape. Peeping or ogling. Checking a […]

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Another Speaker Shut Down by College Students

Add Jordan Peterson to the list of professors shut down as visiting speakers by angry university students. Since last fall, Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has enraged many people by refusing to use the growing vocabulary of pronouns preferred by transgender people. On Friday night at McMaster University in Hamilton, […]

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Crime But No Punishment at Middlebury?

Two weeks have passed since a student mob shouted down visiting lecturer Charles Murray at Middlebury College, injured a professor, and jumped up and down on Murray’s car. But college President Laurie Patton still hasn’t acted to deal with any of the perpetrators. The action necessary was laid out clearly and forcefully by Rod Dreher […]

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