Higher education

My take on the campus “rape culture”

Featured image I agree with John that there is no “rape culture” on college campuses. But I also agree with Joe Asch, the proprietor of Dartblog, that sexual assault, or, at a minimum, serious sexual harassment, is a real problem at colleges and universities. I base my conclusion in part on conversations with a dozen or so current college students or recent grads. Not all of them see the situation the same »

Conservative Muslim’s opinions produce “existential worry” at University of Michigan

Featured image Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, is a conservative. Worse, he expressed his conservative views as a columnist for a school publication. As a result, Mahmood was subjected to vandalism. Messages were left on his apartment door calling him obscene names and telling him to “shut the f*** up.” The vandals also left a picture taken from Mahmood’s Facebook profile with his eyes X’d out. This »

Columbia law school and “existential worry”

Featured image I thought I had covered every angle of interest to me in the story about Columbia law school postponing the exams of law students “traumatized” by two grand jury no-bills. But the New York Times article that John linked to prompts an additional line of thought. Here is what one Columbia law student, a Latino, told the Times: “The word ‘trauma’ is sort of being misunderstood. It’s not a trauma »

NY Times Reports on Columbia Exam Postponement

Featured image The story that Paul broke about Columbia Law School postponing exams for students who purport to be traumatized by the grand jury proceedings in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases is percolating through the press. The New York Times, Columbia’s home town paper, reports: Columbia Law School is allowing students to postpone their final exams this month if they feel unnerved by the recent grand jury decisions not to »

Bill Buckley Was Right, Chapter 2,000

Featured image Everyone remembers Bill Buckley’s famous axiom that he’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than the faculty of Harvard University. My great teacher Harry Jaffa had a corollary to the Buckley Theorem, which held that it would be better to be educated by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than the faculty of Harvard. Either way, fresh evidence of the »

Damage control at Columbia?

Featured image The Volokh Conspiracy, via Eugene Volokh, has posted an email from one of Columbia Law School’s vice deans regarding requests for postponements of exams by students allegedly traumatized by grand jury outcomes. The email states that “students who wish to request a rescheduled exam, or other similar accommodation, should either write to the office of Registration Services with an individual explanation of the basis of the request, or speak in »

Columbia law school and the apotheosis of race-based admissions and critical race theory jargon

Featured image Columbia Law School agreed to postpone exams for “traumatized” students in response to, in effect, a demand by “The Coalition of Affinity Group Student Leaders and Students of Color” at Columbia. Here is the full text of the Coalition’s statement: Dear Columbia Law School Faculty and Administrators, We are writing to you as students who have been deeply affected by the recent events in Ferguson, in New York, and across »

Columbia law school and the apotheosis of “newspeak”

Featured image In his email to the Columbia Law School community, interim dean Robert Scott said “students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled.” It was obvious that the “petition” is a formality. In grand jury parlance, dean Rigas would approve a ham sandwich. But just to be sure, and »

How to talk to a traumatized law student

Featured image In his message to the Columbia Law School community, interim dean Robert Scott tells those “who would like support” in the wake of two recent grand jury “no-bills” that four professors have made themselves available for that purpose. The four are: Katherine Franke, Conrad Johnson, Olati Johnson, and Susan Sturm. Who are these professors and what are they likely to say to support traumatized students? The law school’s website answers »

Traumatized students, then and now

Featured image I’ve received good feedback on my “Not a Parody” post about Columbia Law School’s decision to postpone exams for students who claim they are traumatized by the “no-bills” in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. One reader writes: In 1972 I was taking a final exam in a history course at Harvard. I didn’t start to write when everyone else did, because I liked to plan my answers. The »

Not a parody [Updated]

Featured image Columbia Law School is permitting students claiming to be impaired due to the emotional impact of recent non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner matters to postpone taking their final exams. Here is the text of a message from interim dean Robert Scott to the law school community: The grand juries’ determinations to return non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have shaken the faith of some »

The Spirit of Salem Lives On

Featured image I was in graduate school in southern California 30 years ago when the McMartin preschool sex abuse scandal erupted in the news media, featuring incredible tales of Satanic rituals, underground tunnels, group sex with animals and children, and various alleged acrobatic acts that would challenge Cirque du Soliel, all believed credulously by the media and California prosecutors. A six-year criminal trial ultimately concluded that the charges were all bogus—every single »

The Telos of the Liberal Mind?

Featured image Remember the old joke from the 1960s about the liberal cleric who told his congregation that he had been mugged, but that he sympathized with his mugger, because injustice, etc. . . Whereupon an elderly lady in the back of the pews mutters loudly, “Mug him again.” The joke has come to life in Georgetown, where a student who was recently mugged at gunpoint has written an article justifying the »

The Power Line 100: The Commanding Haidt

Featured image I tended to let the Power Line 100 Best Professors in America series go dormant last academic year while I served out my time as an inmate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and it is past time to bring it back. And who better to inaugurate the revival of this series than NYU’s Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind. He is not only tall, but his name »

What’s Wrong With ‘American Studies’ in One Sentence

Featured image American Studies is intended to be a cross-discipline combining literature, history, political science, and one or two other fields (anthropology and philosophy perhaps), and that’s what it did when I emphasized the field through the History and Government departments at Claremont more than 30 years ago. It was a wonderful way of having truly interdisciplinary discussion on key issues past and present. But today, like so many other areas in »

Department of Useless Intellectuals

Featured image I’ve decided against starting a regular feature, or worse still a contest, to treat the question of who are America’s most over-rated intellectuals, because if you answered “All of them,” it would be difficult to gainsay such a common sense conclusion. It would of course be hard to top someone with the megaphone of Tom Friedman, who writes in his column today: ISIS operates just like an “invasive species” in »

Call me Ishmael–Ms. Ishmael

Featured image A friend forwards this message from the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Middlebury College to all faculty, staff and students at the college. This just in: Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students, We are writing to share exciting news with you regarding the college’s new preferred name and gender pronoun procedure, an option for identifying oneself in BannerWeb. This initiative was born from a proposal presented to the Administration in »