Tag Archives: Virginia

Wendy Murphy Comes to the University of Virginia

The Office of Civil Rights’ mandated procedures for
investigating sexual assault are tilted heavily against the accused party. The
institution can
hire “neutral fact-finders” who produce the equivalent of a
grand jury presentment, deny the accused an advisor of his choice, add
witnesses that the accused student does not request, forbid the students from
cross-examining his witnesses, and judge the student according to a 50.00001
percent preponderance of evidence standard, an approach that mocks even the
pretense of due process.

It is remarkable, then, that one such accused student at
the University of Virginia was exonerated of the charges brought against him.
Unfortunately, what happened next was unsurprising.

The accuser hired an outside attorney–none other than controversial
victims’ rights lawyer Wendy Murphy–and filed a complaint with the Office of
Civil Rights. Murphy’s argument, as expressed to c-ville.com, comes close to
saying that a failure to convict amounts to an OCR violation. “The preponderance standard is simple,”
she told the newspaper. “When her accusations are deemed credible, and his
denials are not described with the same glowing terminology, she wins.” But
under the UVA system, the investigators (serving as the equivalent of a grand
jury) have the authority to deem an accuser’s claims “credible.”
For the
OCR even to consider such an absurd claim would be highly problematic.

The second disturbing element of this story comes from
the article itself. Penned by Graelyn Brashear, the article often appears as
little more than a press release for Murphy. Even though the accuser publicly
reiterated her allegations through a posting on Murphy’s facebook page–which
Brashear notes, was “widely
circulated among students,” c-ville.com kept her identity secret.

Nor does Brashear
inform her readers about what the UVA procedure actually entails. Beyond
referencing the shift toward a preponderance of evidence standard (which the
reporter comes close to celebrating, describing universities lacking the
standard as “holdout schools,” even as she notes concerns from FIRE and the
AAUP), Brashear doesn’t reveal that accused students can’t have an attorney
cross-examining witnesses, that the university considers the equivalent of a
grand jury or the police as “neutral,” or that the university is willing to
abandon even a circumscribed right to cross examine regarding some witness
statements. Given that most people outside the academy (indeed, most academics)
have little knowledge about the details of campus due process, it seems likely
that readers of Brashear’s article came away with the belief that the campus
judicial system resembles not the Kafka-like system envisioned by the OCR but
instead the Law and Order rules that
most citizens at least somewhat understand.

Most troubling, here’s how
Brashear described Murphy: “Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor at the New
England School of Law and a frequent media commentator on issues of women’s
rights, has a reputation as a firebrand. ‘I’m an activist with my feet in the
courts,’ she said. Her battle cry is blunt: ‘The law is designed to facilitate
and perpetuate violence against women and children,’ she said.”

Virginia is a member of the ACC, and, of course, Murphy
has some experience with handling allegations of sexual assault at an ACC
school. In the Duke lacrosse case, the ubiquitous media commentator repeatedly
made false statements of fact about the case (nearly 20 of them in 2006 alone)
coupled with myriad unsubstantiated claims and bizarre interpretations of law.
These statements weren’t made in secret–and they received widespread attention,
including from the American Journalism

Yet Brashear mentions none of this, and instead treats
Murphy as a wholly credible figure. Imagine, for instance, if the intro
paragraph had at least acknowledged that Murphy had a record of playing fast
and loose with the truth on claims of campus sexual assault: “Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor at the
New England School of Law and a frequent media commentator on issues of women’s
rights, has a reputation as a firebrand, although in at least one high-profile
campus matter, the Duke lacrosse case, she repeatedly misstated both factual
items and questions of law, always in such a way that favored the accuser in
that case.”

Such a portrayal, it seems,
isn’t what cville.com thinks its readers should receive.

Trickle Down Racial Double Standards

Advocates of affirmative action never seem to realize that abandoning the “without regard” principle of colorblind equality — i.e., legitimizing the distribution of benefits and burdens based on race — can result in unfavorable, discriminatory treatment of their favored minorities, even when that harsh lesson is staring them in the face as it is now in Florida and Virginia.

According to the Florida state board’s Strategic Plan, the goals are for 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics, and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. In math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites 86 percent, Hispanics 80 percent, and blacks 74 percent. These goals, the board stated, “recognize that not every group is starting from the same point and are meant to be ambitious but realistic.”

The state’s plan to reduce academic goals for minorities, the Florida Sun Sentinel newspapers report, “has created a firestorm in South Florida.” 

Florida, alas, is not alone. Last summer the Virginia Department of Education announced its new annual reading and math objectives with lower benchmarks for blacks and Hispanics, and it too set off a firestorm of controversy. 

The Huffington Post criticized Virginia for “reducing expectations based on race.” In a letter to Gov. McDonnell the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus called the new achievement objectives “insulting and narrow minded.” Its chair, Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, “says the state is marginalizing students by setting different goals for how many pass each Standards of Learning test based on their race or background.” The Vice President of the Virginia NAACP described the new guidelines as “discriminating” and declared that her “biggest concern is setting lower expectations for minorities than other cultures. If you set low expectations for children, you devalue them, and demoralize them to themselves.”

These criticisms of the Florida and Virginia plans for lowering the standards of success for blacks and Hispanics are penetrating and persuasive. They are also glaringly inconsistent or hypocritical, since affirmative action in college admissions — i.e., lowering requirements for blacks and Hispanics — has the same debilitating effects, or worse, on those for whom the bar is condescendingly lowered. See Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help And Why Universities Won’t Admit It, the “magisterial” new book by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., for a compilation and analysis of the accumulating evidence of this harm. Yet the NAACP, civil rights advocates, and Democratic pols not only defend but glorify that differential treatment and its lowered standards based on race.

One of the saddest and most depressing things about this controversy over Florida’s and Virginia’s differential racial benchmarks is the shock and surprise one feels when encountering a Democrat or civil rights advocate actually calling for students to be treated without regard for their race.

The Freeh Report and the Failure of Trustees


The past few months have been troubling for those who
believe that Trustees must exercise more aggressive oversight roles on today’s
college and university campuses. At the University of Virginia, the board of regents (temporarily,
it turns out) sacked President Teresa Sullivan, yet struggled to articulate a
reason for doing so. Then, when they did so–seeming to demand more on-line
classes, seeming to criticize the German and Classics Departments–the board’s
vision conflicted with defenders of high standards. At University of Southern
Maine, meanwhile, the board stood aside amidst a
slow-motion coup against President Selma Botman–an effort that aimed, as one of
the plotters privately admitted, to show that “the faculty really are the
center of the universe.”

Continue reading The Freeh Report and the Failure of Trustees

Anger and the Banality of Academe

Michael Robbins.jpg

editors at the Chronicle last
week declined to permit me to publish my last piece on the same-sex marriage
debate. They pointed out, reasonably enough, the topic is “too far afield from and
tangential to academe and academic policy to run on Innovations.” That
topic has, of course, had plenty of play on another Chronicle blog, Brainstorm, but I
understand the skittishness of the post-Naomi opinion section of the Chronicle when
it comes to dissent from
the prevailing norms of academic opinion, and I quietly slid the article over
to Minding the Campus, where
its academic anchor held fast.

that out of the way, I turned to issues that I was pretty sure wouldn’t set off
tsunamis of protest: the importance of teaching the history of Western
civilization; my own multicultural undergraduate education; and the creative
side of coming to terms with cultural loss. I am rather enjoying this placid
stretch, and rather than rush to re-join the debates over student financial
aid, the higher-education bubble, governance at UVa, the role of technology on
campus, the latest sustainalunacies from last month’s conference at UC
Davis, and the like, I’m sticking with the theme that higher education is
relaxing deeper and deeper into banality. Not just any kind of banality but a
banality that artfully and sometimes pleasingly combines the detritus of
popular culture, the ersatz sophistication of the opinion elites, a consumer
ethic, random bits of globalized commerce, and the jumbled fragments of the old
civilization. We recline in the shade of those ruins. And it is not so bad

Continue reading Anger and the Banality of Academe

A Delayed Coup in Maine Succeeds

In the last few months, the highest-profile
administrative skirmish has occurred at the University of Virginia. The affair
was depressing in that an important principle (the need for aggressive
oversight by trustees) appears to have been used to advance a rather weak

Continue reading A Delayed Coup in Maine Succeeds

More Rumbles at UVa

The post-mortem
continues on the two weeks of turmoil that included the abrupt forced
resignation and the equally abrupt reinstatement of University of Virginia
president Teresa Sullivan. Everyone on all sides of the dispute over Sullivan’s
ousting seems to agree that the Board of Visitors, UVa’s trustees, behaved
secretively, discourteously, and ham-handedly when it handed Sullivan her
walking papers on June 10. Everyone seemed to be relieved when the board voted
unanimously on June 26 to invite her back, and that Sullivan and her chief
opponent on the board, UVa rector Helen Dragas, have pledged to work together
in unity (everyone, that is, except for some diehard radicals on the faculty
who were hoping to see Dragas and the rest of the board summarily canned).

Continue reading More Rumbles at UVa

Why Many Conservatives Got It Wrong on UVa

uva.jpgBy any ordinary standard, Teresa Sullivan is the kind of
university president conservatives love to hate. In 2010, after the Board of Visitors
unanimously elected her the first female president of the University of
Virginia, one of her first acts was to endorse and publish the UVA Diversity
Council’s statement expressing commitment in–what else?–diversity. Sullivan had co-authored two books on middle-class
debt with none other than Elizabeth Warren, who famously exploited informal
racial quotas at prestigious academic institutions by falsely claiming Native
American ancestry on the sole basis of her high cheekbones. In short, Sullivan
appeared as a diversity hire interested only in campus diversity at UVA and who
has worked with another diversity hire to produce diversity scholarship. It is as if Sullivan was not born but rather fashioned out of the politically correct

A Modest but Serious Proposal

Now that the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has unanimously re-instated Teresa Sullivan as president, it will be important to put the controversy in the past as quickly as possible, to repair the frayed relations between supporters and opponents of the formerly fired president and between the Board and the faculty, which demanded her re-instatement.

Continue reading A Modest but Serious Proposal

Peace Breaks Out in Virginia

You’ve got to hand it to Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. On June 22 he ordered the University of Virginia’s governing board to make it clear by June 26–yesterday–whether its fifteen voting members wanted to reinstate the university’s controversially ousted President Teresa Sullivan–or didn’t. If the board refused to “make a clear, detailed, and unified statement on the future leadership of the university” within that time period, McDonnell promised to ask for all of their resignations on June 27. The board duly met and voted in record time to keep Sullivan on. It was a win-win situation for all concerned. Although Sullivan got to keep her job, one of the biggest winners was actually the board itself. The board managed both to look gracious and to reaffirm its ultimate power over the governance of the University of Virginia, over the claims of an angry Sullivan-supporting faculty.

Continue reading Peace Breaks Out in Virginia

Three Cheers for Useless Education

classroom full of students.jpg

Several years ago Harper’s Magazine ran two articles on “The Uses of Liberal Education.” One article, subtitled “As a weapon in the hands of the restless poor,” was written by Earl Shorris, and describes how poor and underprivileged members of our society were eager to study the great books and benefited from them. He devised a course of study in the humanities for people aged 18-35 from the lower east side of New York City. His goal was to prove–both to the students and to himself–that the great books of the Western tradition belong to everyone, not simply to a few rich people in selective colleges and universities.

The other essay, subtitled “As lite entertainment for bored college students,” was written by Mark Edmundson of the University of Virginia, and pretty much speaks for itself. Edmundson describes privileged students who have access to a first-rate education at a top-notch university. “What my students are, at their best, is decent. They are potent believers in equality. They help out at the soup kitchen and volunteer to tutor poor kids to get stripes on their resumes.” More than anything, Edmundson adds, is that they “seem desperate to blend in, to look right, not to make a spectacle of themselves.” In one instance he writes about students who would come to his office to tell him how embarrassed or intimidated they felt when he corrected them in front of other students in class. When he asked one of them if he should let a major factual error go by so as to save the student discomfort, the student said that it was a tough question and he’d have to think about it.

Continue reading Three Cheers for Useless Education

Honor Codes and Affirmative Action

I recently posted an essay here about a racial hoax at the University of Virginia Law School that quickly became an issue implicating the University’s honor code. Briefly, Johnathan Perkins was an attractive third year UVa law student from what could be described as a civil rights family inasmuch as both his father and grandfather wrote civil rights books. A few weeks before graduation Perkins sent a letter to the Virginia Law Weekly describing in vivid detail an offensive and frightening case of racial profiling and abuse he had suffered at the hands the UVa police. Or it would have been offensive and frightening abuse if it had actually happened, but it didn’t. Perkins made the whole thing up, he confessed after an investigation had been launched, to “bring attention to … police misconduct.” The police and the commonwealth’s attorney declined to bring charges, arguing in effect that charging someone for inciting a riot by shouting Fire! in a crowded theater would discourage others from reporting real fires.

At most places the refusal to bring charges would have been the end of the matter, but the University of Virginia is decidedly not most places. It has one of the most ancient and honorable Honor Codes in the nation, a code that most members of what “Mr. Jefferson,” in local parlance, referred to as the “academical village” take very, very seriously, and the honor code has a “single sanction” for those who lie, cheat, or steal: expulsion. Whatever happens with Perkins — his degree has been withheld pending an honor council investigation — his fraud has focused attention not on imagined police misconduct but on a long simmering dispute over what can be described as the “disparate impact” of the honor code on minorities at UVa.

Various explanations have been offered for the “overrepresentation” of those accused and convicted of honor violations, among them the SPOTLIGHTING of black students — they stand out in a mass of white students (they all look different?) — and the “DIMMING” of whites in a white crowd (they all look alike?). Really. No one at UVa  seems to take very seriously the idea that the “overrepresentation” represents  disproportionate actual honor violations. Whatever the explanation, however, the disparate impact of honor codes on minorities is not a phenomenon limited to Mr. Jefferson’s University. 

Continue reading Honor Codes and Affirmative Action

At UVa, Girls Presumably Don’t Need Diversity

The Center for Diversity in Engineering at the University of Virginia is sponsoring a “Discover the joy of engineering” summer camp, but boys need not apply.

Program Description

Enjoy Engineering is a camp designed to help girls discover the joy of engineering. It will provide hands-on activities, lab tours, and creative engineering design projects in a variety of engineering fields.

Instructors and speakers for the camp will include UVA faculty, graduate/undergraduate students and professional women engineers. Campers will work closely with a wide variety of women engineerings [sic], and learn why these women love what they do….

Who Can Attend?

The Enjoy Engineering Camp is open to rising 8th and 9th grade girls.

The application form has all the expected politically correct boxes for race and ethnicity but only one box — “Gender – ☐ Female” — for sex. Presumably those girls can do without whatever benefits “diversity” is thought to provide during their camp experience.

Continue reading At UVa, Girls Presumably Don’t Need Diversity

Diversity, Honor and Double Standards at UVa


The University of Virginia Law School held its commencement on May 22, and not a moment too soon. “Not since Teddy Kennedy was speeding through town and picking up reckless driving tickets in the late 1950s,” The Hook, a Charlottesville weekly, reported, “has UVA Law School seen so much scandal.” Since those scandals involved race it was altogether appropriate that the commencement speaker was Eric Holder, Attorney General of perhaps the most race-conscious Justice Department in history, a department whose civil rights division officials have been accused in sworn testimony by two former members of that division (one of them, Christopher Coates, formerly head of that department’s voting rights section) of systematically refusing to enforce voting rights in the race-neutral manner required by law.

In his address Holder referred to UVa’s segregated past and to the controversial role a graduating 3L sixty years ago, Robert Kennedy, played in producing an integrated audience for a commencement address by Ralph Bunche, congratulating UVa and his audience by noting that “Sixty years later, I believe that Robert Kennedy would be proud to see this diverse, and extremely talented, group” of 372 JDs about to graduate. However, one name of a graduating 3L was conspicuously missing from the list of degree recipients: Johnathan Perkins, an omission that almost certainly means his degree was held up pending the outcome of an honor committee investigation of a police harassment hoax he admitted to perpetrating.

In late April Perkins, whose father and grandfather were noted civil rights authors, wrote an impassioned letter to the editor of the Virginia Law Weekly claiming that he had been the victim of racial profiling and harassment by the UVa police. “When race is brought up,” he wrote,  “white people are accused of being prejudiced, insensitive, and out of touch, while black people are accused of having chips on their shoulders, playing the victim, and race-baiting.” 

Continue reading Diversity, Honor and Double Standards at UVa

A Sad Performance by Two UVA Law Professors


Below, Mark writes about the remarkable case of Jonathan Perkins, the third-year law student at the University of Virginia who fabricated an incident of racial profiling–and, at least as it now appears, has faced no consequences for doing so.

Shortly after Perkins spun his tall tale, and before the UVA police had verified that an incident of any sort had even occurred, two UVA law professors decided to speak out regarding the student’s allegations. Given their positions, might they have called for a reasoned evaluation of the evidence? Or urged UVA students to avoid a rush to judgment before all the facts had been gathered? Or–at the very least–framed their conclusions as in some way conditional on facts to emerge?

Professors Anne Coughlin and Kim Forde-Mazrui chose to take a different path. Forde-Mazrui–whose website describes him as a specialist in such politically correct topics as affirmative action, race and the law, and slavery reparations–denounced the “cavalier attitude” of the officers, who failed to show Perkins sufficient respect. Again, at the time Forde-Mazrui opined about the officers’ “attitude,” he didn’t know if any incident had even taken place. Is this the sort of “cavalier” approach he recommends for prospective lawyers when commenting on legal issues?

Continue reading A Sad Performance by Two UVA Law Professors

No Punishment for the Crime

A psychiatrist once told me, “When people do something wrong, you’ve got to tell them.”  She meant it not as a moral point, but a psychological one.  If people don’t hear somebody else say, “That’s wrong,” an essential element of psychological advancement is missing.  

The principle bears upon a case in Virginia reported today by Inside Higher Ed.  A student at University of Virginia law school, Johnathan Perkins, alleged last month that while walking home from a bar review session, UVA cops pulled him aside, interrogated him, taunted him, frisked him, then followed him home.  He made his claims in a letter to the student newspaper, adding notes about his humiliation and his hopes that “sharing this experience will provide this community with some much needed awareness of the lives that many of their black classmates are forced to lead.”

Police responded to the letter by conducting an investigation, then issuing an announcement last Friday that, according to Inside Higher Ed, “Perkins had made up the story.”  In a written statement, Perkins admitted, “I wrote the article to bring attention to the topic of police misconduct.”

That’s not all.  Police have decided not to press any charges.  The chief states, “Pressing charges in this case might inhibit another individual who experiences real police misconduct from coming forward with a complaint.”

Continue reading No Punishment for the Crime

Edmundson on Students and Derrida on Tradition

University of Virginia English professor Mark Edmundson has a penetrating, but saddening article in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week. It’s called “Narcissus Regards a Book”, and it laments a terrible outcome of the academic culture wars of the late-1980s and early-1990s. Edmunson recalls the infamous chant of students at Stanford—in his rendition, “Hey-ho, hey-ho, Western culture’s got to go”—but focuses not on the impudence of the marchers but on the response of the professors. The youthful ones and their grown-up supporters posed a serious question, Edmundson says. Why read Blake or study Picasso? Why not teach The Simpsons and Stephen King instead, especially as those are so much more relevant to the worlds of 1990s students?
Edmundson’s comment is worth repeating in full:

I’m not sure that teachers and scholars ever offered a good answer. The conservatives, protected by tenure, immersed in the minutiae of their fields, slammed the windows closed when the parade passed by. They went on with what they were doing. Those who concurred with the students bought mikes and drums and joined the march. They were much in demand in the news media—figures of great interest. The Washington Post was calling; the Times was on the other line. Was it true? Were the professors actually repudiating the works that they had purportedly been retained to preserve?
It was true—and there was more, the rebels yelled. They thought they would have the microphones in their hand all day and all of the night. They imagined that teaching Milton with an earring in one ear would never cease to fascinate the world.
But it did. The media—most inconstant of lovers—came and the media went, and the academy was left with its cultural authority in tatters. How could it be otherwise? The news outlets sell one thing above all else, and that is not so much the news as it is newness.

Continue reading Edmundson on Students and Derrida on Tradition

Free Speech at UVA

Congratulations to FIRE for inducing the University of Virginia to drop four policies that restricted the speech of students and faculty. One policy had prohibited Internet messages that are “inappropriate” or “vilify” others. The campus women’s center backed down from two unusually preposterous policies that listed “teasing,” “jokes of a sexual nature” and “innuendo” as examples of sexual harassment and warned that simple flirting or causing a woman to feel disrespected could be harassment as well. The university also reformed “Just Report It!” a “bias reporting” system, promising that protected speech will not be subject to University disciplinary action or formal investigation. FIRE praised University president Teresa Sullivan for making these changes within three months of taking office.

Political Correctness Is the New Puritanism

3581039587_78ef193a3e.jpgOne of the saddest effects of the plague of political correctness that infects most selective campuses is the rampant dissatisfaction and unhappiness it produces. Those who care enormously about the purity of anything are often frustrated by even rumors of deviation from perfection. Just as hi-fi buffs searching for the absolute sound tend to listen for the imperfections on their discs or in their equipment more than to the music they ostensibly love, so today’s oh so caring politically correct students seem to live on constant guard against even the barest whiff of “exclusion” or homophobia or sexism or classism. All that concern makes for many unhappy campuses.
In one of her first acts as the new president of the University of Virginia, for example, Teresa Sullivan declared a Day of Dialogue on Sept. 24, with multiple events in hopes that

a full day of open and vigorous discussion about violence, hate, bias, and violence prevention will bring us together in new ways so that each of us can feel safe to participate fully in the life of the University.

Although Virginia’s Dialogue Day was provoked in large part by the murder last year of an undergraduate by her undergraduate boyfriend, the University community now has a long tradition of flagellating itself over what many see as raging tides of hate. Indeed, pick up the Daily Cavalier on almost any day and you’re likely to find a lamentation about the rampaging forces of hate on what to naked eye seems like an unusually friendly, “welcoming,” “inclusive” campus.

Continue reading Political Correctness Is the New Puritanism

The Uses of the Word ”Controversial”

A revealing window into the mind of modern liberalism (keep snarky comments about looking into a dark, empty room to yourself) is nicely provided by noting what the press, especially the press covering higher educations, regards as controversial.
A case in point: On July 2 both Inside Higher Ed (“Controversial Choice for Virginia Tech Board”) and the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Controversial Lawyer Is Reappointed to Virginia Tech’s Governing Board”) responded identically to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s recent appointment of Roanoke lawyer John Rocovich to another term on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
I do not mean to imply that there was no controversy around aspects of Rocovich’s prior service. Both Inside Higher Ed and Chronicle link to the Roanoke Times, which described a couple of the controversies:

Continue reading The Uses of the Word ”Controversial”

If Students Fail, Fire The Teacher

Steven Aird, who taught biology, was denied tenure and dismissed by Norfolk State University in Virginia for failing too many students. Though Aird isn’t talking publicly about the case, Inside Higher Ed reports that university documents he released make clear that his pattern of giving low and failing marks was the sole reason he was fired. In classes for which he was criticized by the dean for his grading, Aird gave Ds and Fs to about 90 percent of his students. Other professors say that The dean, Sandra LeLoatch, expects teachers to pass 70 percent of their students. Aird’s attendance records seem to show that many of this students weren’t very interested in studying – the average student went to class only 66 percent of the time. He said 20 percent of his students truly can’t do the work, with another 20 percent ready to learn from the start. The middle 60 percent often fail, he said, because the university accepts substandard work and poor attendance. He said: “I think most of the students have the intellectual capacity to succeed, but they have been so poorly trained, and given all the wrong messages by the university.”

George Leef at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy argues that blaming Aird for not inflating the marks of poor students is the easy way out for a university. He points to two strong arguments that many colleges are filling up with disengaged students, who work very little but expect good grades. One is the book Generation X Goes to College, by Peter Sacks (Read more here). The other is “The Disengaged Student and the Decline of Academic Standards,” an article in Academic Questions by Professor Paul Trout of Montana State University.

Another argument rumbling through the discussion is that the expectation that everyone should go to college is dragging down standards and sending many totally unqualified students to the campuses, where great shock awaits them. The June issue of The Atlantic features an anguished article by an unidentified adjunct teacher (“Professor X”) , who teaches introductory courses in writing and literature to students at two unnamed institutions, one a small private college, the other a community college. The article, “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower,” says sending everyone under the sun to college is a noble inititative with almost universal support. Professor X writes: “Academia is all for it, naturally. Industry is all for it; some companies even help with tuition costs. Government is all for it; the truly needy have lots of opportunities for financial aid. The media applauds it – try to imagine someone speaking out against the idea. To oppose such a scheme of inclusion would be positively churlish. … [But I ] am the one who ultimately delivers the news to those unfit for college: that they lack the most-basic skills and have no sense of the volume of work required; that they are in some cases barely literate; that they are so bereft of schemata, so dispossessed of contexts in which to place newly acquired knowledge, that every bit of information simply raises more questions. They are not ready for high school, some of them, much less for college.”