Higher education

Presumed guilty: Duke revisited

Featured image Last week FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff posted the video below on InstaPundit with a link to this post introducing it. The video is also posted on YouTube with this introduction: In 2006, the nation was rocked by allegations that three Duke lacrosse players had raped a woman named Crystal Mangum at an off-campus party. As Mangum’s story began to unravel, the focus of the case shifted from the supposed criminal behavior »

In praise of Lesley Goodman

Featured image In his elegy of William Butler Yeats, W.H. Auden concludes with this couplet offering advice addressed to an unnamed poet: “In the prison of his days/Teach the free man how to praise.” This morning I want to take a brief timeout to praise Lesley Goodman. Professor Goodman has a Ph.D. in English from Harvard. She is a voracious and learned reader at the beginning of what should be a great »

Donald Kagan reflects

Featured image Yale history/classics professor Donald Kagan is a great old-fashioned scholar and teacher. The author of a classic four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War, he has written many other books of distinction including Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy and On the Origins of War: And the Preservation of Peace. Professor Kagan retired from his position at Yale in 2013. He gave his last lecture to a packed auditorium. »

Invitation to a microaggression

Featured image Here I quote Elizabeth Price Foley, writing at InstaPundit: The University of California, headed now by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, has gone insane with political correctness. The confirmation comes via its new “faculty training guide,” which has conveniently listed some microaggressions to be avoided in the classroom, including: * “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” * “Affirmative action is racist.” * “Everyone »

Are 20 percent of college women sexually assaulted? [With Comment by John]

Featured image The Washington Post is claiming, based on a poll, that “twenty percent of young women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted.” That’s an alarming finding. But is it valid? Scott Greer and Blake Neff of the Daily Caller point to flaws in the Post’s study that undermine the 20 percent claim. First, the Post didn’t asked the female students polled whether they were »

The case of Hillsdale College

Featured image The Wall Street Journal’s Kyle Peterson profiles our long-time friend and Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn in “Liberal arts for conservative minds” (accessible here via Google). The occasion of the profile is Larry’s receipt of one of this year’s Bradley Prize awards. Larry is the past president of the Claremont Institute. Here the profile takes a sidelong glance at the work of the institute: The institute’s first program, the Publius »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll calls this one SHLEPPING TOWARDS UTOPIA. She writes: Well, Mattress Girl has evidently graduated from Columbia. In Electrical Engineering, I think. Ha, ha, I kid. Of course it was “Visual Arts.” (Though in fairness, she considered Physics.) Heck, I was a Sociology major, so talk about “High Horse” Syndrome! And she finished in four years whereas it took me three terms: Johnson’s, Nixon’s, and Carter’s. So kudos to »

Committee takes on grade inflation at Dartmouth, Part Two

Featured image My post on grade inflation at Dartmouth prompted responses from two correspondents who are familiar with the situation at institutions comparable to the College. At one institution, grade inflation apparently is rampant, to the point that a student with a GPA in excess of 3.9 fell short of summa cum laude. I wonder what the cutoff GPA at Dartmouth is. My correspondent points to several factors that fuel the inflation »

Antidotes to Silly Commencement Addresses

Featured image So it’s college commencement time, which means graduates are typically subjected to appallingly trite commencement addresses from appallingly trite celebrities whose mediocrity goes unnoticed even when on full live display in front of the new graduates of some of our finest universities. Which may say something about the substantive quality of higher education today. One antidote is the six-minute video George Will has done this week for Prager University on »

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 7

Featured image New York magazine has a terrific piece up this weekend that tells the whole story of how the Green-LaCour Science magazine article on changing support for gay marriage by way of a canvas was exposed as a fraud—by another graduate student. It’s a long piece, but worth an extra-grande latte and a good slow read. In addition to the details of the fraud itself—which involved LaCour fabricating emails with a »

Standard Deviation Indeed

Featured image This photo is reported to be from the graduation program for Columbia University’s MA degrees in statistics. Two observations: First, the mode is fairly obvious. Second, I’m willing to bet that none of these graduates toted a mattress across the stage when picking up his or her diploma. »

Our Inhuman Humanities

Featured image The rise of political correctness and rigid ideological filters is only one reason the humanities are suffering a precipitous decline in enrollment at colleges and universities.  Other reasons include the deliberate obscurity and mediocrity that attend so many humanities programs and professors these days.  (I’ve observed classics departments where the object seems to be keeping as esoteric, inaccessible, and irrelevant as possible.) Why would students want to waste their time »

Berkeley Daze

Featured image Fun time last night at the Institute for Governmental Studies at Berkeley, talking about whether Obama is “unleashed” or a “lame duck.”  Fellow panelists were Tom Mann (insert melodrama boos and hisses here), Cathleen Decker of the Los Angeles Times, and Ann O’Leary, a senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign.  O’Leary was very pleasant and engaging in the ordinary sense, but I noticed a rash on my right arm »

Shakespeare: The Ultimate Dead White Male?

Featured image In my first public lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013, perhaps no passage excited a more furious response from some members of the audience than this: It turns out that at a shockingly high number of universities—though not this one—it is possible to take a degree in English without having to take a single course on Shakespeare, which strikes me as absurd as taking a course »

At the inaugural disinvitation dinner

Featured image Last week on April 15 the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale inaugurated its annual Disinvitation Dinner. The Buckley Program has written a new chapter in how to take a lemon and make a lemonade. Some kind of congratulations are in order. Its online site is located here. The Disinvitation Dinner was a black-tie affair at the Pierre Hotel in New York. Buckley Program chairman Roger Kimball introduced keynote »

Deep Behind Enemy Lines Again

Featured image While John was off visiting his home town in South Dakota, an inter-dimensional crossrip in the space-time continuum found me today, April 20th—better known to potheads as 420—back in Boulder: However, there was no second-hand smoke of any kind (no 420 on 4/20!), because the university has cracked down on the large smoke-ins of previous years, with the simple expedient of police tape—plus a whole lot of police on hand »

American Sniper: Too Dangerous for the University of Michigan

Featured image The University of Michigan’s Center for Campus Involvement, which sponsors a wide variety of student entertainment, scheduled a showing of American Sniper, the biggest grossing film of 2014 and an Academy Best Picture nominee. This was too much for sensitive Michigan students, who complained that the movie is anti-Muslim and would make them feel “unsafe.” This letter was signed by around 300 Muslim students and others: Anti-Muslim and anti-MENA hate »