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 … Continue reading Exclusive: New Harvard Prez Nearly Won “Sheldon” Award
Trigger Warning: If you fancy yourself smart enough to understand complex social science, Bryan Caplan’s book, The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money, may lower your self-esteem. This is a serious, “academic” effort, six-years-in-the-making, and while Caplan, an economist at George Mason University and the Cato Institute, … Continue reading Is Half of College Education Wasted?
I have a cabin in the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. The woods– lovely, dark and deep–weren’t always woods. About 150 years ago the hills in central Vermont were stripped bare of trees and mostly turned over to sheep farms. The wool industry, however, soon moved west, and these days Vermont is completely re-forested. … Continue reading The New Campus Anti-Americanism
Millennials, perhaps our most insulted generation, have taken quite a heavy beating, both in the media and parts of academia. They are “the snowflake generation,” (fragile and overprotected)’ the dumbest generation” (Mark Bauerlein) the “most narcissistic generation” of all time (Jean Twenge in her book Generation Me), “lazy” and “entitled” (in a Time cover story), … Continue reading The Surprising Strength of the Millennials
Nearly a decade ago, my then colleague Andrew Gillen suggested that one could say that higher education was in a bit of a “bubble”: over-exuberant “investors” in human capital, better known as students, were potentially misallocating their resources, becoming increasingly underemployed after graduation, leading to adverse financial consequences. In the private sector, bubbles, like those … Continue reading Popping the Higher Education Bubble
Continuing its attack on what it calls the “politically tinged” philanthropy of the Charles Koch Foundation, The Chronicle of Higher Education followed-up last year’s essay entitled, “How Right Wing Billionaires Infiltrated Higher Education,” with last month’s “Think You Know What Type of College Would Accept Charles Koch Foundation Money? Think Again.” Left-wing billionaires like George … Continue reading Colleges’ Double Standards: Taking Soros’ Money, Rejecting Koch’s
One might call it an occupational hazard. A teacher hears someone say something critical about students in general and has an immediate response: “Not MY students.” It shows a particular form of identification. The teacher assumes the role of defender of the youths as if being their teacher entails being their advocate. It’s also a … Continue reading How Identity Politics Boosts College Conservatives
A drearily familiar depiction of lecherous professors and innocent students appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education December 7, unsubtly titled “Dirty Old Men on the Faculty.” It lacks all nuance and context and resolutely ignores the reality that college students – who are adults, not children — often pursue their professors. Fortunately, more illuminating … Continue reading Professor-Student Sex—Just a Problem of Dirty Old Men?
“The sexual harassment racket is over,” Peggy Noonan excitedly declared in the Wall Street Journal last week. No longer need we be stumped by conundrums based on “he said/she said.” Instead, Noonan rejoices that “now predators are on notice.” Overlooked in the celebration, however, is that the presumption of innocence—long problematic in sexual harassment charges– … Continue reading ‘We Made This (Harassment) Law Up From the Beginning and Now We’ve Won’
Sociologist Emile Durkheim would find validation for his theory of deviance in the fury surrounding sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men in politics, the media, business, and academia. More than one hundred years ago, Durkheim argued that the reason acts of deviance are identified and publicly punished is because defining deviant behavior reinforces social … Continue reading The Purge of the Deviants May Go Too Far
This year is the 30th Anniversary of the publication of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. That book made Bloom and anyone who liked it unambiguous enemies of the humanities. Bill Bennett, Dinesh D’Souza, Lynn Cheney, the founders of the National Association of Scholars and the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, Roger … Continue reading The Decline of the Humanities and Who’s to Blame
The Abolition of Man is the best refutation of moral relativism that has ever seen print (aside from the Bible, of course). In this short and cogent book, C.S. Lewis ponders what happens when human beings abrogate transcendent moral law and objective truth and begin to fashion their own guidelines for living. One argument that … Continue reading When Students Kill Important College Courses
Following a spate of controversial protests on college campuses across the nation that sought to silence mostly conservative speakers, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has adopted a policy that mandates punishment for students and other campus citizens who willfully seek to disrupt speakers. The policy, resulting from pressure by the state legislature, … Continue reading U. of Wisconsin Will Suspend or Expel Campus Disrupters
From kneeling football players to campus shout-downs to professors and a president Tweeting out malignancies, America now has a new problem. Taken out of its Christian context, to witness is to make an emphatic assertion to someone else who doesn’t share your view that your view is right. That assertion, moreover, doesn’t aim to persuade … Continue reading Disrupting Campus Speakers Is Not Just A Free-Speech Problem
Almost two years have passed since the Halloween imbroglio at Yale in 2015, which launched the current era of student mobilizations against speech that some students don’t want to hear. Whatever their ideological stance, these protests aim to intimidate controversial speakers and those who would invite them to campus, to prevent others from hearing them, … Continue reading Free Speech–Where Are the Adults in the Room?
Once many years ago I spoke to an Army recruiter who tried to convince me that I would learn many valuable skills in the military, including how to jump from helicopters. I was puzzled. How exactly was learning to jump from a helicopter a valuable skill? He explained that I could then qualify for a … Continue reading Protecting Academic Freedom Through All the Campus Smoke
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 … Continue reading Eight Ideas Forbidden on Campus
There is so much zany nonsense erupting on campuses these days that many items deserving notice get buried in the avalanche. Here are three from the past weeks that, while perhaps not each warranting a full-fledged article, are too good to ignore. Charlottesville: No Violence From “Our” Side? Walt Heinecke somehow finds time to serve … Continue reading Race and Gender Crowd Already in Mid-Season Form
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 … Continue reading A Version of Antifa on Campus
Looking forward to a lively annual conference of the American Political Science Association, due to start this week in San Francisco, I proposed a panel on “Viewpoint Diversity in Political Science.” After all, I thought, wasn’t the 2016 election a signal lesson in the continuing relevance of diverse viewpoints in the American body politic? My … Continue reading Why I’m Leaving the Political Science Association
James Damore, the author of the ten-page “anti-diversity manifesto” that got him fired from Google, is not likely to fade to the level of a remote trivia question. That’s because Damore, a 28-year-old engineer, former chess champion, and researcher in computational biology at both Harvard and Princeton, sharply focused evidence and argument that shook the … Continue reading What Damore’s Memo Taught Google
Maranto and Woessner reply to Peter Wood’s excellent critique: Our recent Chronicle of Higher Education essay makes the case that while conservatives and libertarians are dramatically outnumbered among higher education faculty by those on the left, fears that college students suffer ideological indoctrination are overblown. In his sensible, nuanced reply, our friend Peter Wood suggests … Continue reading Are Conservative Fears of Campus Indoctrination Overblown?
I am heartened by the news (from Pew that 58% of GOP voters disrespect our colleges). It has taken a lot to break through the complacency of these voters. Of course, the real credit for this turnaround goes to those students at Middlebury and their counterparts at dozens of other colleges and universities. It goes … Continue reading Colleges Are Drawing the Contempt They So Richly Deserve
On July 15/16, the Wall Street Journal had an ominous story on the advancing influence of a few technology companies on every aspect of our lives. The main focus fell on the extraordinary growth of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, a colossal quintet that makes the old days of the Robber Barons look minor … Continue reading Are Teachers the Last Defense Against Artificial Intelligence?
Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC is a selective school with a faculty that has a considerable number of, to use Roger Kimball’s phrase, tenured radicals. Just about two hours to the east in Raleigh is Wake Tech Community College, a typically unpretentious school offering lots of “practical” education. Recent events at the two schools … Continue reading An Anti-Koch Rampage at Wake Forest