Author: Samuel J. Abrams

Samuel J. Abrams is a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Veritas to Falsitas: Universities Have Abandoned Truth

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on June 1, 2024, to correct an inaccuracy regarding Sarah Lawrence College’s 2024 graduation ceremony. Initially, it was stated that graduating students were seen in an Instagram post chanting “from the river to the sea” during the commencement address. Instead, students held anti-Israel signs, and the chanting, initially thought […]

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Closing DEI Offices Is Not Enough

Closing “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) offices around the country is a powerful step in halting the illiberal and divisive harm-centric monoculture that has taken over higher education. However, there remain far too many student-facing administrative offices that seek the same goals. Whether in residential services or student life offices, administrators wield significant power and […]

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College Presidents Are Oblivious to Their Campus Climate

The past five months have shown the world just how toxic speech is on college campuses. The climate for open inquiry and dialogue is under attack nationwide, and students are scared to speak, question, and express themselves freely. Using disparaging rhetoric, even violence, to prevent speech is now commonplace on campus, and thus, many students […]

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Thank You, Hoover Institution

Higher education has become an identity-laden monoculture in desperate need of reform. Conservative-leaning students and faculty are a minority on campuses, and far too many self-censor out of fear of being canceled. More than half of faculty report that they fear losing their job over misunderstanding something they said or did. This is devastating. Diversity […]

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David Brooks Misses the Mark on DEI

When colleges and universities opened in the fall of 2023, five states—Florida, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas—had passed legislation banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs (DEI). These states were well aware that, as David Brooks notes, universities are failing at inclusion—the many so-called diversity initiatives have promoted an ideology of exclusion and intolerance […]

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A Sad Reminder: Republicans Are Not Welcome at Many Schools

With first-year orientations already underway and classes starting shortly at thousands of colleges and universities, it is critical to remember that despite the ubiquitous rhetoric of “openness,” “inclusion,” and “respect for difference” in American academe, Republicans are not welcome. At first glance, statements from diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices seem to promote viewpoint diversity. […]

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Elite Schools are Leading the Illiberal Charge

As free speech and expression have come under assault on college and university campuses, a number of clear trends have emerged. One of the most powerful findings is that elite schools are typically less open to free speech. Further analysis reveals a troubling gender gap between male and female students: women are far more liberal […]

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Faculty Speech Varies Regionally

The ability to express diverse viewpoints without reputational and professional consequences has been under threat at colleges and universities for many years now. Numerous surveys and reports reveal that students on both the Left and the Right consistently self-censor for fear of being canceled. Yet, these issues have a geographic component—they appear to be most […]

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More Hope From Stanford

For almost five years, I have been sounding the alarm about problematic higher education administrators. Not only are these staffers omnipresent and growing in number, but they try to set the terms of discourse on campuses nationwide and actively promote progressivism among the student body. This tragic state of affairs was on vivid display last […]

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A Glimmer of Hope at Stanford

A few years ago, I wrote about one of the most overlooked facets of college and university life: students and professors have far less influence on campus culture and programming than most people think. In reality, it is the ever-growing ranks of administrators who have the greatest influence. Administrators are now embedded in virtually all […]

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The Time is Now to Invest in Conservative Grad Students

Over the past few years, I have regularly encouraged conservatives to not write off higher education. Despite the Right’s valid concerns about woke administrators, progressive faculty, student self-censorship, and hostility toward conservative speakers, higher education is a valuable institution which has promoted an incredible degree of social mobility and ground-breaking innovation. There are many conservative […]

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Dear Republican Students: Violence Has No Place in Politics

Hyper-partisanship has made our already-contentious politics all the more hostile. Numerous media outlets have been sounding the alarm in recent days over politically charged threats of violence, and far too many are attempting to normalize events like the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. Issues like crime and inflation strike at the core of […]

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A Collegiate Reality Check

It is perfectly reasonable for the public to think that colleges and universities are filled with progressive activists. Campuses are overflowing with liberal messaging, from banners to large-scale displays advocating for so-called “justice” and “equity.” Even off campus, media coverage of controversies at Oberlin College and my own Sarah Lawrence College belies any notion of […]

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On Leaving Professional Organizations

Jonathan Haidt, professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, just published a deeply moving piece about why he is resigning from his primary professional society, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Haidt argued that his society recently asked him to violate his “quasi-fiduciary duty to the truth” because, in order to present research at the society’s […]

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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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The Liberal College Bubble Must Burst

A new poll from NBC News that looked at second-year college and university students is generating attention after revealing that, “nearly half of college students wouldn’t room with someone who votes differently.” More specifically, the poll found that 54 percent of sophomores would “definitely” or “probably” be open to living with someone who supported the […]

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Let Sarah Lawrence College Be a Warning

In a recent piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, interfaith leader Eboo Patel recounted his experience at a 2019 “Difference in Dialogue” program at Sarah Lawrence College, where I teach and where he was a panelist for an event entitled “Diversity is Not Just the Differences You Like.” At the time of the event, […]

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Democratic Students Are Never Satisfied

At Sarah Lawrence College, protesting about various perceived injustices is something of a campus pastime. When I discuss these demonstrations with my students, I warn them that the progressives behind them will never be satisfied, as their goals are constantly shifting and are often unclear. Leftists frequently promote narratives of harm and victimization and rarely […]

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Not All College Students Are OK with Cancel Culture

In the past decade, schools ranging from Yale University, to Middlebury College, to my own Sarah Lawrence College, have made national news over how they have handled issues of free speech and cancel culture. In reaction, many studies and reports have examined institutional initiatives and the free speech environments surrounding protests and viewpoint diversity. But […]

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Colleges Need A Reality Check On Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is seemingly rampant and omnipresent in our nation’s colleges and universities. These days, examples surface so often that they don’t even make the news as they once did at places like Yale, Sarah Lawrence, and Middlebury. Nonetheless, students of all ideological backgrounds report that they regularly self-censor and limit what they say due […]

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Young Americans are Too Sensitive About Speech

Jodi Shaw is both a graduate of Smith College and an administrator in its residential life office. She made national news when she publicly spoke truth about Smith’s diversity initiatives. Shaw— who is intimately familiarwith the school’s political culture —questioned the efficacy of many of Smith’s inclusion initiatives, critiqued the school’s overly sensitive culture, and […]

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Free Speech Must Be Protected Inside and Outside the College Classroom

A 2019 report by the Knight Foundation on the state of collegiate student expression made the troubling conclusion that “students largely agree that the political and social climate on college campuses prevents some students from saying what they really believe because they’re afraid of offending their classmates.” The data revealed that 68% felt silenced because […]

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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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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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The Bullying and Silencing of Students

Progressive colleges are often the worst offenders in all the ideological bullying that stains our colleges these days. Take my own institution, Sarah Lawrence.  During the 2016 election cycle, a week did not go by on my campus, without a student or a small group of students coming to me and sharing stories where they […]

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