The case of Hillsdale College

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 fellowships, brings together young people for intense study of political philosophy and the American founding. (I was a Publius fellow in 2011.) “We thought, ‘There’s a crisis in the nation, and the answer to the crisis is the Declaration of Independence, and the “Laws of Nature, and Nature’s God,” and the Constitution. And the conservative movement never talks about those things’—which was true, back then,” Mr. Arnn says. “We have something to do with that not being as true now as it used to be.”

Quotable quote:

Hillsdale, which believes in colorblind admissions, doesn’t have to report to the government statistics on the racial breakdown of its campus, so it doesn’t collect that data. If you ask Mr. Arnn how many, say, Hispanic students are on campus, he will reply that he has no idea. “It’s hugely better if you can just ignore all that stuff,” he says, “and we can.”

But Mr. Arnn says that during the last term of President George W. Bush, creative bureaucrats figured out a new way to assert control: through the independent accrediting agencies that evaluate college programs. “In the ’60s the federal government designated them as the pathway to eligibility for the federal money,” he says. “None of that means beans to us, but now the accrediting agencies are living under standards the Department of Education gives them.”

Please do read the whole thing.


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