Higher education

Has the College Death Spiral Started?

Featured image I’ve been tempted to tweak my liberal friends with the mischievous thought that COVID-19 is actually a Trump five-dimensional chess plot to destroy universities, unionized K-12 public education, and Hollywood (since TV and movie production is largely shut down too). Colleges and universities were already facing mounting financial pressure because enrollment is steadily declining and certain to get much worse in the coming decade (the result of falling birthrates back »

Cotton introduces Campus Free Speech Act, McConnell signs on

Featured image Our friend Sen. Tom Cotton has introduced the Campus Free Speech Restoration Act (CAFSRA). It provides that colleges and universities that promulgate restrictive speech codes, so-called free-speech zones, and other unconstitutional speech policies will lose their eligibility to receive federal student loans and grants through the Higher Education Act. Private universities will also lose eligibility unless they both fully disclose their policies on free expression and accept contractual responsibility for »

Professor Katz’s declaration

Featured image Do you recall the anti-George W. Bush petition that generated scads of mock signatories such as Hugh G. Reckshun? James Taranto delighted in chronicling the signatures daily in his online Best of the Web column for the Wall Street Journal. More recently, The Open Letter from Yale Law Students, Alumni, and Educators Regarding Brett Kavanaugh attracted one such signatory: “Charles U Farley, YLS ‘04.” Now, Charles Glasser observed, that’s a »

Marquette president hits and runs

Featured image After receiving a copy of the message/statement from Marquette University president Mike Lovell that John has parsed in the adjacent post, I wrote senior director of university communications Lynn Griffith at the address indicated in the message: Dear Ms. Griffith: I am one of four partners in and contributors to the site Power Line. We have received a copy of the statement sent out by President Lovell to the board »

Princeton faculty letter demands end to academic freedom

Featured image On July 4, a group of more than 400 Princeton faculty members and (from the look of it) hangers-on sent a letter to the university’s president and other leaders on the subject of “anti-black racism.” After a few perfunctory and unsupported allegations about this phenomenon, the authors proceed to the business at hand. They present several dozen “demands.” Each demand seems more outlandish than the last until, finally, we get »

Holloway’s way

Featured image Jonathan Holloway is the new president of Rutgers University. Insofar as one can tell from the quotes in Amanda Hoover’s NJ.com profile of Holloway — “Rutgers is named for a slave owner, but school’s first Black president says the name will stay” — his views resemble those of a conventional academic bureaucrat except in one respect. Holloway asserts that the university’s name isn’t up for changing even though it honors »

The problems with implicit bias training

Featured image Last week, Scott reported that Dartmouth will impose mandatory “implicit bias” training on all students, faculty, and staff. Even Dartmouth’s board of trustees “has committed itself to participating in the training.” I don’t doubt that there is such a thing as implicit bias. The bias can be against Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Jews, etc. It can also be against America, although these days much of the anti-American bias on display is »

Nightmare at Oberlin

Featured image Things haven’t gone well for Oberlin College in court recently. First, it was found liable for defaming Gibson’s Bakery. After the bakery’s owner tried to stop a black student from shoplifting, the Oberlin student senate condemned the bakery as racist and called for a boycott of its products, which Oberlin stopped purchasing for a time. A jury awarded the Gibson family $44 million in damages, reduced to $33 million by »

Will top black athletes opt for HBCUs? Will top black students?

Featured image Trevor Keels will be a senior guard next season on the powerhouse high school basketball team Paul VI in Fairfax, Virginia. Keels is a five-star recruit and ranks among the top 25 high school players in the class of 2021. Reportedly, he’s being recruited by the likes of Duke, Virginia, Villanova, and Michigan. The Washington area high school league Keels participates in has sent players to all of these schools »

Rename Princeton now

Featured image Princeton has dropped Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of public policy due to the racism of the 28th U.S. president. However, Princeton hasn’t come to grips with a more fundamental problem — the name of the college itself. A woke graduate informs us that Princeton, both the town and the school, takes its name from King William III, the Prince of Orange. The famous Nassau Hall, which is still »

Rename Yale Now

Featured image Some mischievous benefactor of humanity has purchased a full-page ad in today’s New York Times to publish Roger Kimball’s June 22 American Greatness column “Canceling Yale.” The ad with Roger’s column appears in today’s Times under the headline Rename Yale Now. I have posted a screenshot of the text below. I’m sorry it’s not more readable. I just want you to get some idea of the nature of the thing. »

Princeton’s president isn’t fooling the Black Justice League

Featured image I doubt that I agree with the Black Justice League about much. However, I agree with some of what it argues in this statement in response to the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from Princeton’s school of public policy. I agree that: 1. The Wilson-related name change is a “symbolic gesture” that does not address Princeton’s “racist status quo”; 2. “Diversity training” would not accomplish anything; 3. Princeton’s actions are »

Cancellation in the first person

Featured image In its forthcoming July/August issue, Commentary features the first-person account of our own Steve Hayward telling the story of his cancellation by the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Steve’s memoir/essay is “How I Ran Afoul of Campus Cancel Culture.” As always, Steve wears his learning lightly, but his characteristic humor is absent from this somber and infuriating account. Come for the farcically disgraceful story, stay for Steve’s »

Banality Brushback

Featured image As has been noted here already, there is a huge rush to issue conformist statements adhering the the party line about BLM, white supremacy, and the rest of the Woke Catechism. Nowhere more so than on college campuses. Peter Wood notes in his fine piece “The Mandatory Banality of College Presidents” that: The statements from the college presidents individually do not mean much, but taken as a whole, they testify to »

Lessons from Wichita State

Featured image Last week, the president of WSU Tech, and affiliate of Wichita State University, announced that Ivanka Trump would speak at the school’s commencement — a virtual ceremony. Some students, faculty members, and alums objected. WSU’s president responded as college presidents do. She decided that Ivanka would not speak at the virtual ceremony. Instead, her address would be available online. Ivanka posted it on Twitter. She included a reference to the »

The war on standards, college math edition

Featured image I’m pretty sure I’ve told the story on Power Line of how, years ago, a major university dumbed down its graduate program in public policy, but I don’t think I’ve told it recently. The university in question had always required students in the program to take and pass a course in econometrics. The course was taught by a good friend of mine (a liberal). The program used racial preferences to »

What I believe

Featured image Larry Bacow, the president of Harvard, blasted this email to members of the Harvard Community: The last several months have been disorienting for all of us. COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted the lives of people worldwide. It has caused more than 365,000 deaths around the globe and more than 100,000 in the United States alone. Forty million Americans have lost their jobs, and countless others live in fear of both the »