Are We on the Wrong Side of Biology?

Is the battle to ensure an intellectually open campus winnable? Many would answer “yes,” but there are reasons for pessimism. To be blunt, the life of the mind, the veneration of truth over falsehood, and the pursuit of truth may not be the default option of human nature. Yes, that idyllic world may exist here […]

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Moving Forward: Is Legacy Higher Ed a Lost Cause?

When a man contravenes his stated principles, through word or through deed, we ought to first give him the benefit of the doubt. But when he does it the tenth, or hundredth, or thousandth time, we must conclude that he holds a different set of principles entirely. In other words, one’s words and actions are […]

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Compelling Diversity and Punishing Dissent

Universities’ misguided effort to enforce racial equity As universities’ obsession with race and pursuit of racial “equity” continues apace, the Board of Directors of California Community Colleges has decided that the system will now grade its employees, including, of course, its faculty, on the extent to which they promote “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility.” 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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The Wrecker

How much would you pay for a brigantine beached and abandoned on Midway Atoll in the South Pacific? That’s the question faced by the main character of Robert Louis Stevenson and his step-son Lloyd Osbourne’s novel, The Wrecker (1892). The enterprising young man, Loudon Dodd, bids $50,000—something like $2,000,000 in today’s inflated dollars. Loudon’s reckless […]

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Reparations or Ransom?

California’s New Reparations Report Defies Gravity On June 1, 2022, the California Reparations Task Force, established by the passage of AB 3121 in 2020, released an interim report detailing generational harms of slavery and post-slavery government policies and practices on black Americans. The 492-page report makes sweeping policy recommendations such as zero-interest home loans, free […]

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Cornell, Due Process, and Liberal Education

Earlier this month in Vengalattore v. Cornell University, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit provided a welcome affirmation of colleges’ and universities’ obligation to respect due process on campus. The court resolved a technical question of law and remanded the case for consideration on the merits of critical elements of the […]

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Survival of the Smartest

The campus battle between proponents of intellectual merit and those of racial preferences in admissions has been a long and disappointing campaign. Nevertheless, victory now seems within reach thanks to the current Court’s likely opinion in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College. At long last, racial discrimination will—hopefully—end by […]

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Democracy in Danger: A Notice to the National Security Community

National security experts should help defend our democracy. They should begin by confronting the illiberalism in our universities. The Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security recently held an event titled “Democracy in Danger,” in which the speakers made several excellent points. They discussed the dangers of tribalism; ideologies which drive racial […]

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Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Would Be a Huge Mistake

President Joe Biden is considering a student loan forgiveness plan which would forgive $10,000 per borrower for individuals making less than $150,000 per year ($300,000 for a family). Without the income cap, this would cost $380.2 billion. It would wipe out the entire debt of those with a balance of $10,000 or less (15.2 million […]

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Self-Identified “Compelling Interests” are Not a License to Discriminate

To what extent can a selective educational institution advantage certain racial groups in admissions decisions without discriminating against other groups simultaneously? How can said institutions balance external demands for fairness and group representation with their core mission to educate students sufficiently? How much influence should an institution itself wield, compared with other stakeholders (including the […]

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Should Anyone Be Lectured by College Students?

Let’s state the obvious: college students are surprisingly immature. They have not lived through real life, do not pay taxes, do not have a degree in any subject, and are not ready to demand that they be heard over all others. They need humility, patience, and tolerance. Does any parent pay tuition for their child […]

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A Game of Leftist Whac-A-Mole: Why College Presidents Are Quitting

The last few months have seen a rash of resignations by college presidents, most of which have been voluntary. These are no lightweights—the growing list of outgoing presidents includes those at some of the nation’s leading institutions, including Dartmouth, UPenn, Northwestern, MIT, Fordham, and most recently, my own alma mater, Columbia. Early resignation seems to […]

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Harvard Won’t Say if It Supports Diversity of Thought

In the summer of 2020, after the sensationalized killing of George Floyd burned the words “Black Lives Matter” onto America’s streets and television screens, American institutions of higher learning turned to their offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to pledge loyalty to the African American community with cookie-cutter press releases and affirmations. Harvard University, known […]

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Is The Chicago Thinker the New “Chicago School” of Journalism, Politics, and Law?

Some Thoughts On the University of Chicago’s New Conservative Student Newspaper “In place of seeing a mature person as a source of rational discourse, we might see them as reacting appropriately to situations, in terms of disciplined perception. Today we have techniques of manipulation on a scale that would have made Callicles proud. If there […]

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Stop UC From Imposing High-School Ethnic Studies as New Eligibility Requirement

Editor’s Note: The following is a letter from the California Association of Scholars, a state affiliate of the National Association of Scholars. The letter seeks signatures in an effort to oppose the University of California’s proposed ethnic studies requirement for all undergraduate applicants. To add your signature, see the letter and links below. Dear Friends […]

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How Diversity Promotes Racial Rancor

Why is it that the more we do to promote diversity the greater the racial acrimony? It is as if a misguided patient took a medicine that only worsened his illness. This paradox is especially visible in higher education, and one can only wonder if a robust intellectual life can survive the seemingly endless quest […]

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Academia’s “Double Standards” Are an Illusion

These days, it’s increasingly common for conservatives, classical liberals, and centrists to point out the Left’s so-called “double standards.” The examples are endless: Black Lives Matter’s “fiery but mostly peaceful” protests were justified, while the Canadian trucker convoy was domestic terrorism. Feminists claim to uphold the dignity of women while encouraging promiscuity and allowing “trans” […]

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Rewarding Jew Hatred at CUNY Law

The anti-Semitic crybully becomes the whining victim. As if to further confirm that the City University of New York School of Law (CUNY Law) has become a cesspool of anti-Israel activism masked as social justice, the school chose its most radical and toxic student, Nerdeen Kiswani, to give one its commencement addresses on May 13th. […]

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What is Merit and What is Not?

The idea of merit has been thoroughly scrutinized in both the ivory tower and the public square. Harvard professor Michael Sandel presents a philosophical case against meritocracy in his best-selling book The Tyranny of Merit (2020), arguing that “the talent game generates hubris among the winners… and creates humiliation and resentment among the losers.” Sandel’s […]

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