Articles

Bloomberg Warns Colleges on Limiting Free Speech

Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, made headlines by arguing in a political column that political rage and increasingly polarized discourse are endangering the nation. He said Americans are too unwilling to engage with people whose ideas are different from their own. He added that Americans used to move forward productively after elections regardless […]

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Has Harvard Lost Its Taste for Western Civilization?

The official greeting of Harvard president Larry Bacow to the members of the Harvard Community — a typical welcome to new students, faculty, and parents — has touched a political nerve. Stina Chang, writing on the Asian-American news site AsAmNews picked up Bacow’s pitch to legislators to ease restrictions on international students who want to […]

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Doing Physics While Black

If “diversity” is not only good but an essential core ingredient of a quality education, as the current academic mantra insists, then physics — the least diverse of all fields (blacks earned 2% of bachelor’s degrees in 2015) — has a big problem. Now Stanford claims to have a solution. “Physics faculty and students are […]

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The Garden of College Excellence Is Growing Weeds

Anthony Kronman, my long-time Yale Law School colleague and perhaps the most eloquent individual I know personally, has written a brave, high-minded, argumentative, and largely persuasive book about the values and choices that should animate our greatest colleges and universities but no longer do. His book, The Assault on American Excellence, is also quixotic in […]

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the poison of identity politics

Columbia Adds Multiculturalism to Core Curriculum

Columbia University has decided to add a contemporary multicultural component to its famed core curriculum, Insidehighered.com reported. You knew it was coming. The Western Civilization orientation in general education coursework has been utterly routed for a long time now. The few remaining cases, such as Columbia’s, won’t endure because the academic left won’t let them. […]

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Teaching That America Is Hopelessly Racist

Many more college students have read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ anti-white screed Between the World and Me (2015) than have read, say, works by the Nobel economist Robert Fogel, Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Slavery (1974) or Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (1989). I can say that with […]

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Are College Costs Transforming Family Life?

The New York intellectual establishment has learned via a New York Times op-ed and a New Yorker story/book review that the high cost of college has “changed” (Times) or “transformed” (New Yorker) American family life. That is nothing particularly new or revealing, at least for millions of Americans living, as I do, in that vast […]

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Harvard Law Professors Challenge Unfairness of Title IX

A lawsuit filed by an accused professor against Baylor University is the latest in a string of litigation from professors or high-level university employees adjudicated under campus Title IX tribunals. It was all but inevitable that the unfair Title IX apparatus that has ensnared thousands of accused students would target professors as well. It might […]

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How Conservatives Can Win Without Whining

The progressivist insistence on feeling safe and included, along with accompanying acts of censorship and personnel complaint, has proven so successful in recent years that one can hardly blame conservative students for joining in. But they should hold back. When conservatives proclaim that they are offended and unsafe, though they may win a quick victory […]

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Signing-of-the-Constitution

The New York Times Rewrites American History

On August 18, the Sunday New York Times included a section, The 1619 Project. It announced a goal unusual in journalism, reframing American history, “making explicit how slavery is the foundation on which this country is built.” The Times seemed to imagine that all the protestors were far-right conservatives, but one that caught our eye […]

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Intimidation-Produced Silence at Stanford

Back in the late middle of the last century I attended Stanford for my last three years of college and my last three years of graduate school. Since then I have looked in vain for the dividend checks from that investment, but one thing I have received with some regularity is the alumni magazine. Along […]

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The Assault on Free Thought

The academic left’s efforts to suppress opposing views is fierce, agile, and determined. It can summon an angry mob at a moment’s notice, get the undivided attention of a busy college president, or turn on the tears over the anguish a student feels when oppressed. Whether the goal is to bar a speaker, deface a […]

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A Weak Attempt at Justifying Admissions Preferences

In the Summer 2019 issue of Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine, Professor Dennis Weisman of Kansas State University offers a benign view of college admissions preferences. In “What Constitutes ‘Discrimination’ in College Admissions?” Weisman argues that since colleges admit many students for reasons other than their high degree of academic ability, there’s no good reason to […]

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A Federal Court Takes on Title IX

Since the Obama-era Dear Colleague letter, there have been almost 500 lawsuits filed at the state or federal level by accused students. One of the most unfair—in the combination of procedures and outcome—occurred at Purdue University. A lawsuit filed in January 2017 was revived last month by an important opinion issued by the Seventh Circuit. […]

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Diversicrats Are All That’s Left on Campus

At this point in time, the word diversity is spoken with such pedestrian calm that people forget that it used to have an edgy import.  Not that many years ago, “diversity” meant the introduction of women and minorities into academic jobs and the academic curriculum—as it does now. But back then, that introduction was cast […]

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As Alaska Slashes Funds to Higher Education, Will Other States Follow?

The state of Alaska has unleashed a grizzly bear of a problem for the lower forty-eight. By slashing public spending on the University of Alaska by 41 percent, the governor and the legislature have defied one of the settled rules of American politics: Thou shalt not threaten public higher education. What if other states follow […]

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A Confusing Racial Decision for Harvard

Harvard’s decision last month to rescind admission to Kyle Kashuv because of nasty racial tweets he sent three years ago is a curiously unprincipled action. Kashuv is obviously contrite. He shows all the indications of a reformed sinner eager to undergo Harvard’s diversity training. One would think that an institution so solemnly dedicated to social […]

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Nike, Kaepernick and Looming Tribal Warfare

Today, many people, in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the West, have rejected liberal democracy in favor of “woke” identity politics and cultural Marxist “social justice.” Following the Marxist vision of society as a division of classes, with the oppressed victims struggling against the privileged oppressors, identity politics has expanded the class struggle […]

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Diversity’s Worst Failure–the Faculty

For the diversity engineers in higher education, life keeps yielding disappointments. A new study shows once again how far colleges and universities lag relative to their vocal pledges of equity and inclusion. The study draws on Federal data to determine how well those institutions have improved the demographic make-up of the faculty—improvement defined by the […]

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After Vilifying Its Basketball Star—How Much Did Yale Have to Pay?

Some 500 lawsuits have been brought by accused college students in Title IX cases since the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter of 2011 made it easier for accusers to prevail. Of those 500, one of the most troubling has been the case of basketball star Jack Montague, expelled by Yale in 2016 just as his […]

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A Better Way to Solve the Student Loan Crisis

Skin in the game for student loans, the idea that colleges should face financial consequence when their students default, is gaining momentum in policy discussions. After all, when students take out loans, the colleges get all their money upfront, leaving taxpayers holding the bag when students default on the loan payments years later. It seems […]

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How Oberlin Played the Race Card and Lost

Are Oberlin College officials serious when they say they were defending students’ free speech? That remains the college’s defense even after a jury found the college guilty of libel and interference with business in its dealings with Gibson’s Food Mart and Bakery. Gibson’s Bakery felt defamed by Oberlin College’s involvement in a campaign accusing the […]

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BDS Israel

Are the Doors to Elite Universities Still Open to Jewish Students?

Fifty years ago, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency published a celebratory article with the title: “Doors of Ivy League Colleges Reported Wide Open for Jewish Students.” Reporting that in 1967, “40 percent of the students at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania are now Jewish. At Yale, Harvard and Cornell, the Jewish student number between 20 […]

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Liberals and the Looming Big Money Problem Facing Higher Education

Today’s liberals not only tolerate but encourage colleges and universities to give preferences based on race (see affirmative action and the College Board’s new “adversity” score). Now they want to prohibit giving preferential admissions treatment based on … well, it’s not completely clear, but family wealth comes pretty close. As a result, many defenders of […]

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The $44 Million Verdict Against Oberlin

Oberlin College just got hit again with a jury judgment that could cripple the college financially. Last Friday, the jury found the college guilty of libel and returned a verdict award of $11.2 million to Gibson’s, a local store and its proprietors. Today, the jury added $33 million in punitive damages – a clear sign […]

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Whitewashing the Harm Colleges Inflict on the Nation

Over the last half-century, higher education in America has been transformed from a quiet backwater with relatively little influence or cost into a powerful system responsible for or at least deeply complicit in numerous deleterious trends that are today wreaking havoc on the nation. A bill of indictment would have to include the following. The […]

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Student loan debt

Let’s Privatize State Colleges

Op-Ed. An estimated 14.67 million college students attend what we call “state universities.” Some of them are renowned highly selective research institutions like the University of California at Berkeley or the University of Michigan, while others are relatively obscure schools with an open admissions policy. But all receive some degree of subsidization from the state […]

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When Radical Ideologies Corrupt Universities

I keep being invited to talk about free speech on college campuses and every time I’m invited I make the same point: that this isn’t about free speech and this is only tangentially about college campuses. This is about a breakdown in the basic logic of civilization, and it’s spreading. College campuses may be the […]

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4 philosophers

Will the Universities Start to Collapse?

People used to talk about the ends of the university and how the academic establishment was failing its students. Today, more and more people are talking about the end of the university, the idea being that it is time to think about closing them rather than reforming them. Last month at a conference in London, […]

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Yet Another Attack on Due Process by Title IX

“It’s Title IX, not Miranda,” Susan Riseling, former chief of police at the University of Wisconsin-Madison told a conference of academic administrators in 2015. “Use what you can.” Riseling was describing a case in which a Wisconsin student had been subjected to both a criminal and a Title IX complaint. The police originally didn’t have enough […]

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