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.

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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Why Won’t the Media Review the Campus Rape Book?

Campus Rape Frenzy, the new book by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor. Jr. deals with the gross unfairness and lack of due process for males accused of sexual assault on campus. It has been reviewed by The Wall St. Journal, National Review, The Daily Caller, American Conservative, Real Clear Politics and Campus Reform. Notice any trend […]

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A Woman Assaulted by the Thugs at Berkeley

“Katrina “(no last name listed) an attractive young woman who seems to be in her twenties, appears in a YouTube video, “I was assaulted at the UC Berkeley Anti-Milo Riot.” She and her husband arrived at the site of the scheduled speech early (around 5:30 for the 8 p.m. event) prepared for violence (both were […]

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What to Do When Angry Students Plan to Cancel a Speech

So the Chancellor of the University of California put out a defense of free speech when violent rioters  threatened to cancel a talk by a far-right agitator at Berkeley (see following item).  So the violent rioters overwhelmed the insufficient force of municipal and campus police and canceled the speech. Then what have we learned here? […]

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Free Speech at Berkeley Once Again

Judith Butler and a dozen other Berkeley professors urgently wanted Milo Yiannoppoulos and his “Dangerous Faggot” tour banned from the campus, but University of California Chancellor Nicholas Dirks delivered a strong free-speech explanation of why he won’t cancel the speech and can’t.’’ In an open letter, he said, “From a legal perspective, the U.S. Constitution […]

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Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff, a Great Journalist

If you spent any time on the streets of Greenwich Village in the 70s or 80s, you stood a good chance of seeing two great and prodigiously productive journalists of the era go by — Murray Kempton on his bicycle, usually headed toward City Hall, and Nat Hentoff walking along while reading a book. For […]

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Do We need a Watchlist for Ideological Professors?

The Professor Watchlist, a site just two just two weeks old, has already touched off heated debate in and out of academe.  It is the brainchild of Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA, a politically conservative youth movement founded in 2012, and has the declared mission “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote […]

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No Sex Talk, Please—This is Harvard

Harvard’s men’s cross-country team has been put on probation because members of the 2014 team made strong judgments on the sexual attractiveness of members of the women’s cross-country team. What? We wonder if male college students anywhere else have ever engaged in this kind of behavior—noticing that females often differ in their degree of attractiveness, […]

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Harmless College Jokes Punished at Mandatory Civility Seminar

At a Virginia college, inspirational slogans were recently posted in a residence hall to buoy the spirits of students cramming for exams. Resisting the inspiration, some students posted satirical  responses. “You are what you think you are, aim high!” drew the reply “You appear to be suffering from delusions of adequacy.” Another encouraging slogan, “You […]

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Trump Win Prompts Student Protests and “Cry-Ins”

A cry-in marked Cornell University’s reaction to the election of Donald Trump as president. Zoe Maisel, ’18 co-president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Cornell, said she and co-president Cassidy Clark ’17 began organizing the cry-in Tuesday night for “those of us who have been fighting.” “We need to just take a break and just cry […]

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The Gender Lobby Guns for Toronto Professor

The most controversial man in Canada these days is probably mild-mannered Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Peterson has run afoul of the gender/transgender lobby by refusing to use the personal pronouns favored by students, faculty and others with non-binary gender identities. Those with such identities want to be referred to […]

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Will Princeton Change Its Name?

Elle Woods, the sexy Harvard Law School student from la-la land in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde, got a taste of what has become a daily diet of politically corrected speech. In that movie, Enid, the super-smart lesbian in the study group from which Elle was excluded, was lobbying to change the word semester to […]

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Is the University of Tennessee Safe for Women?

At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, fall is the time for students to worry about sexual assault. At least that’s the message in the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. As reporter Robin Wilson tells it, the beginning of the school year is a dangerous “red zone,” when predatory campus males are most […]

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Pundit Wages War on Campus Correctness, 2001

The speech below was delivered on March 19, 2001, by then U.S. News & World Report columnist John Leo, who is the founder and editor of Minding the Campus. Leo has spent much of his career reporting on the vicissitudes of campus political correctness, many of them recorded in his latest book, “Incorrect Thoughts: Notes on […]

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Why Evelyn Waugh Became a Female

This is an age of gender fluidity, when many are embarrassed to be caught occupying one of the two traditional gender identities year after year, as if no progress at all has been made on the gender frontier. Not Evelyn Waugh, however. The great British writer lived 63 years as a man, and if he […]

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Worst College President of 2015—Who Wins the Sheldon?

We are reviving the Sheldon award for worst college president of the year. It is named for the late Sheldon Hackney, who presided over many college disasters, including Penn’s water buffalo controversy and the theft of a complete edition of the University of Pennsylvania student newspaper that included a column criticizing affirmative action. The thieves […]

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Sustainability, the New Campus Fundamentalism

Back in 2008, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, wrote here that on campus, the word ”sustainability” was moving away from its normal English meaning (prudent use of resources with the needs of future generations in mind) toward a usage with heavy ideological baggage: “sustainability” (definition 2) – a condition that arises […]

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Campus Hypersensitivity—at Last a Pushback

A campus debate on sexual assault was too much for Emma Hall, a junior at Brown, She had to retreat to a “safe space” because “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.” Exposure to ideas you don’t already have is problematic on the […]

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Free Speech Even for Racists

Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law School spoke up quickly on the expelling of  University of Oklahoma students for  their racist chants—it was an impermissible violation of free speech rights. On his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, he wrote: “[R]acist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline […]

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Frat Sues Wesleyan for Discriminating

Members of Wesleyan’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter are suing the school for discrimination after being forced to accept women in order to remain on campus. For the record, the university has an array of other residential houses and halls, none of which, it seems, is required to accept students of other genders, sexual orientations, races, […]

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The Strange Effort to Get Jameis Winston

The headline is unusually blunt: ‘Is the New York Times Smearing Jameis Winston?,’ a reference to the Heisman-winning quarterback of Florida State, who has been accused of rape, a case discussed in 40 New York Times articles. Stuart Taylor, Jr., author of the blunt article today on Real Clear Sports, is an attorney and veteran […]

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A Plan to Remake Dartmouth

This is the headline today on Joe Asch’s Dartblog, an established and very readable blog about Dartmouth: Breaking: Frats Survive (for now); Hard Liquor Goes; Moral Education Returns The reference is to a plan by University president Phil Hanlon to deal with Dartmouth’s outstanding reputation for binge-drinking, feminist accusations of “rape culture,” and angry faculty […]

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Free Speech Too Scary for Student Paper

The University of Chicago, on January 6, released a strong report on free expression “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.”  Good.  But what did The Maroon, the student newspaper, think of a call for robust free speech? You guessed it—not much. […]

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A Plea for Political Diversity in Research

The lack of political diversity among researchers in social psychology is skewing findings and alienating students who find conservative and libertarian views regularly ignored or denigrated, according to an article featured on the Pope Center site today.  In social psychology, self-identified liberals outnumber conservatives by about 10 to 1. The Pope report refers to a […]

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No Free Speech at Marquette

Marquette University, the Jesuit school in Milwaukee, has shot itself in the foot again. Weeks ago in a “Theory of Ethics” class, philosophy instructor Cheryl Abbate listed several possible topics of discussion, but said one of them –gay marriage—could not be addressed because any opposition argument would offend homosexual students, and besides society has already […]

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Misspeak, Then Grovel

Lawrence Summers lost his job as president of Harvard partly because he failed to grovel quick enough and hard enough for a harmless remark about a possible obstacle to female success. Smith College president Kathleen McCartney , on the other hand, has just performed a state-of-the-art grovel over an even more harmless comment. At the […]

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Let’s Not Say ‘Freshman’ Any More

You can’t make this stuff up. Elon University in North Carolina has dropped the word “freshman” and replaced it with “first-year,” according to The College Fix. ”Freshman,” of course, has the deadly word “man” in it. Can’t have that. But there’s another reason for the change: “f——n” ” may contribute to sexual violence on campus […]

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An Actual Debate at Brown

Debates on campus are now as rare as white truffles, and the reason is fairly obvious: as essentially homogeneous liberal outposts in a center-right nation, the campuses see no need to allow adversaries and dissidents to speak. So it’s a surprise to see that Brown University hosted a debate on “How Should Colleges Handle Sexual Assault?” […]

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The Times Allows Criticism of Campus Sex Hearings

The New York Times has followed the issue of campus rape for a number of years without mentioning the shaky procedures and lack of due process  in college  hearings on sexual assault. The first acknowledgement we have seen in the Times that these hearings  are basically unfair came in a Sunday Review opinion piece November […]

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