Higher education

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 »

The Peerless Pitfalls of Peer Review

Featured image Back finally to an old topic leftover from the climate inquisition a few weeks back. One of our lefty commenters thought it important to raise the issue that I don’t publish “peer-reviewed” articles about climate issues in the academic literature, which is true. It’s something I have in common with Al Gore. (Heh.) Besides, I prefer to write in plain English for human beings rather than the 10 people who »

Diversity of thought, Princeton style

Featured image The Daily Princetonian reports that during the 2012 presidential campaign, 157 Princeton University faculty and staff members donated directly to the presidential candidates. Two of them gave to Mitt Romney; the rest gave to President Obama. The amount donated to Obama exceeded $169,000. The two donations to Romney amounted to $1,901. Who were the two renegades that gave to Romney? One was James Shinn, a visiting lecturer at the Keller »

Meet Dartmouth’s new radical professors

Featured image Dartmouth claims to be “moving forward,” but its academic hiring reflects a commitment to marching in place to the drumbeat of the left. The latest issue of Dartmouth Life invites alums to “meet Dartmouth’s new faculty members.” We meet the new profs through one paragraph statements about “what engages their intellectual curiosity.” In too many cases, the answer appears to be leftism. Here is what Christian Haines, the one new »

Higher Ed Bubblegum?

Featured image Glenn Reynolds (among others) likes to write about the “higher education bubble.”  But maybe we’ve all missed higher education bubblegum?  With all of the difficulties law schools are having right now with declining enrollment (applications off overall by more than 50 percent from 10 years ago), it is good to know that at least Touro Law School has it’s priorities straight: Billy Joel and the Law: A Touro Law Conference »

Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens, and feminism

Featured image The Camille Paglia interview in which she recalls being denounced by feminists for taking too soft a line on the Rolling Stones song “Under My Thumb,” coupled with Steve’s reporting on “sexual paranoia in academe,” reminded me of an article by the feminist rock music critic Ellen Willis that appeared in the New Yorker more than 40 years ago. The late Ms. Willis, whose voice I miss, argued that “Under »

Unsupported charges of racism in Charlottesville

Featured image African-American students at the University of Virginia are alleging a pattern of racial bias at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville, according to the Washington Post. The allegation stems from an incident in which a Black student apparently had his face pressed into the pavement by law enforcement officers when they arrested him on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice. The student ended up with a »

How feminism became boring

Featured image 45 years ago, I found feminists to be intellectually interesting. Perhaps this was due to the fact that they were more intellectually interesting than the Marxists I hung out with, but I think there was more to it than that. I now find most feminists boring even compared to Marxists. But Camille Paglia remains extraordinarily interesting. Paglia delivers a virtuoso display in this interview with Nick Gillespie. Among other things, »

In the Matter of Sweet Briar College

Featured image Along with the OU expulsions, the big story in higher education over the last week or so is the surprise announcement that Sweet Briar College will be closing its doors at the end of this academic year. Although the college as an endowment somewhere near $90 million, declining enrollment at the all-womens’ college has led the trustees to conclude that there is no future for a single-sex school out in »

While Grijalva grates

Featured image Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson asks herself how the media would treat a given behavior if it were practiced by a Republican. If the media would go ballistic, Attkisson suggests, the same behavior ought to be deemed newsworthy when a Democrat practices it. As she explains in her memoir Stonewalled, she calls it The Substitution Game. There is more than one reason why Attkisson resigned her employment with »

Martin Heidegger, Call Your Office

Featured image Martin Heidegger’s “Rector’s Address” at Freiburg University in 1933 was one of the milestones—and therefore lowest points—of the rise of Nazism in Germany, as his profession that Nazism represented the “inner truth and greatness of the German people” was prelude to his purging the university of Jewish faculty and students.  I’ve been wondering how long before this sentiment re-emerged explicitly in American universities, especially those enamored of anti-Israel gestures such »

A Modest Proposal to Reduce “Inequality”

Featured image So Obama has had to abandon his plan to tax 529 college savings plans to pay for his “free” community college proposal, because lo and behold lots of middle class people are 529 savers.  But Republicans could still enable Obama to pay for this proposal with a tax that actually hits the genuine rich: a surtax on large private college endowments—say on all endowments that are more than something like »