Higher education

The China Question

Featured image As we periodically ponder what is going on with China’s slowing economy, it might be worth stepping back to take in a more fundamental question. China’s fabulous growth over the last 25 years appears to call into question a favorite thesis of free marketeers such as Milton Friedman, namely, that in the long run you can’t have free markets and undemocratic government. You can for a while—think Chile in the »

From the NAS

Featured image National Association of Scholars executive director Ashley Thorne writes to note that NAS has just published a long, formal statement by NAS president Peter Wood about academic and intellectual freedom. It runs close to 11,000 words and is the most extensive statement NAS has ever made on the subject. Ashley adds: This is a long-meditated response to the Black Lives Matter/cry-bully protests and the anemic responses of many college presidents »

Missouri “muscle” prof charged with assault

Featured image Melissa Click, the University of Missouri professor who called for “muscle” to remove a reporter, has been charged with the crime of assault. The charge is based, I think, on the allegation of Mark Schierbecker, a Missouri student and videographer, that Click, not content to wait for muscle, grabbed his camera and pushed him while he was filming. The specific charge against Click is third-degree assault. This is a class »

A Broadside to Brodhead

Featured image Richard Brodhead is the president of Duke University, which means he’s a member of a higher order of invertebrates. He especially disgraced himself in the handling of the Duke lacrosse case, which turned out to be wholly phony, but not before Brodhead summarily fired the lacrosse coach and condemned the three students involved. Although he later apologized and reinstated the students, he never lifted a finger against the Gang of »

Uncomfortable thoughts about “uncomfortable learning”

Featured image Morton Schapiro, president of Northwestern University — in an article for the Washington Post called “Why my campus needs ‘safe spaces'” — presents paragraph after paragraph of pernicious nonsense about race in the higher education context. By doing so, however, he provides a service; he demonstrates how perniciously nonsensical the prevailing campus racial paradigm has become. Schapiro centers his discussion on the following episode that he says occurred at another »

Authentic Academic Gibberish

Featured image One of the obscure classic satires of modern times is the “mockumentary” called “The Rutles,” a dead-on spoof of The Beatles as reimagined, sort of, by Monty Python. (Eric Idle was one of the main inspirations and stars of the late 1970s film, which is available on YouTube and elsewhere.) One of my favorite scenes is Idle as “Prof. S.K. Krammerhead III, Jr,” described as “an occasional visiting professor of »

Rattling the Primates at the Monkey Cage

Featured image I’ve been wanting for a very long time to say something about the Monkey Cage, one of the specialized blogs (along with the Volokh Conspiracy) that the Washington Post has shrewdly embraced. Whereas the Volokh Conspiracy is a libertarian-leaning legal blog, the Monkey Cage is populated by academic political scientists. I haven’t seen an explanation for the name behind the blog (correction: a sidebar cites H.L. Mencken: “Democracy is the »

Today’s Higher Education Fillip

Featured image Ashley Thorne of the National Association of Scholars, mentioned here the other day about the problem of politicized science, has out today a Top Ten list of “Roses and Thorns” in higher education for 2015 (though the year isn’t over yet, and I hear some students are protesting “White Christmas” because it is . . . well, you know how this absurd sentence ends). The list includes Mattress Girl from »

Calling “The Oberlin College Choir”

Featured image The ordeal of Oberlin College is a long-term affair. One poignant episode occurred earlier this year when the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians (plural?) hosted Christina Hoff Sommers for a lecture on campus this past April 20. In advance of the lecture, the Oberlin Review published a letter to the editor by several aggrieved students under the heading “A love letter to ourselves” (“Content Warning: This letter contains discussion of »

Demanding at Oberlin

Featured image It turns out that my several unreturned calls to Oberlin College officials earlier this week may have given the administration a heads-up on the madness at their door. In a long, sympathetic account, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram’s Lisa Robertson reports on what must be the zaniest set of demands ever to be served up on a college campus. Robertson’s story opens: OBERLIN — Students in Oberlin College’s Black Student Union have »

Ominibus bill rewards Department of Education overreach

Featured image On Friday, the House will vote on the year-end omnibus spending bill, formally known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. As Heritage Action says, the bill should have been an opportunity for conservatives to reassert their prerogatives on a host of important issues, ranging from appropriate spending levels to substantive action on refugee resettlement, executive amnesty, Planned Parenthood, and many more. Instead, the omnibus spending bill falls far short »

What’s happening at Oberlin?

Featured image After posting “The spreading virus: Oberlin edition” this morning, I was struck by the fact that the bizarre and threatening student demands hadn’t been reported anywhere. Could the 14-page document be something other than what it purports to be? This stuff is hard to parody, and there is no wit apparent on the face of the document, but it is way over the top. If it’s the real deal, how »

The spreading virus: Oberlin edition: UPDATE (Is this for real?)

Featured image A reader draws our attention to the 14-page set of demands served by Oberlin College’s Black Student Union (ABASUA) on the college’s trustees, officers, “and all other appropriate Governing Bodies.” Absurd as they are, the demands are backed by a threat sounding like a threat of force and prefaced with this statement: Oberlin College and Conservatory is an unethical institution. From capitalizing on massive labor exploitation across campus, to the »

Diversity: Seven notes

Featured image Scott’s six notes on “mismatch” add a much needed clarity to the discussion of race-based preferential admissions to college. I want to add seven notes on the concept of diversity, which Scott discussed. Note 1: The ideology of diversity is, as Scott says, relatively new. The concept of diversity, however, has been around for quite a while. Decades ago, it was common for elite eastern colleges to strive for geographic »

Preferences for the poor?

Featured image For almost a quarter of a century, Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation has been arguing that race-based college admissions policies should be replaced by preferential admissions for students from low income families. In fact, the first article I ever published (other than in a legal journal) was a 1996 op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing Kahlenberg’s proposal. The oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas provided Kahlenberg another »

What did mistletoe do to Cornell?

Featured image Steve wrote here about the “best practice” guidelines for December holiday parties issued by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Now, Cornell University has extended this ridiculous mindset beyond the realm of community events like parties to private decisions by students and faculty members about what decorations to display. Blake Neff of the Daily Caller reports: The guidelines are buried inside a Cornell »

C.S. Lewis on Today’s College Administrators

Featured image C.S. Lewis drew a perfect portrait of the modern college administrator in his terrific 1946 novel That Hideous Strength, which I consider to be the very best of mid-century anti-utopian literature, superior even to Orwell. There he draws a bead on Wither, the deputy director of NICE, which stands for the “National Institute of Coordinated Experiments.” NICE is housed on a college campus, naturally. I particularly enjoy this passage describing »