Category Archives: colleges and universities

Are universities racist? Randall Kennedy’s take

A defense of universities against charges of “systemic racism” is not that unusual these days, but what is unusual is that this one, highly critical of such charges against Princeton university, comes from Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy. Kennedy is black and profoundly anti-racist, having written extensively on segregation and oppression of African-Americans. He also […]

Greg Lukianoff of FIRE outlines how colleges should commit to freedom of speech

Here’s a short video of Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), outlining five actions people can take to ensure free speech on college campuses. These are, he says, things that people should demand of all college presidents.  I’ll give a short list of What Is To Be Done, but watch the […]

The University of Chicago professes free expression as a “core value”, and a call by one of our faculty to “end the rot”

“The point of education is not to make you comfortable; it’s to make you think.” —Hanna Gray (former President, University of Chicago, speaking in video below) I greatly fear that one of my roles over the next few years, should this website continue, will be to chronicle the downfall of the University of Chicago as […]

Cal State university system: all undergrads must take ethnic studies or socal justice course starting in 2023

I believe the Cal(ifornia) State University (CSU) system is the biggest state University system in the U.S., comprising over 430,000 students. On Wednesday, the CSU trustees voted that, starting in the academic year 2023-2024, all students must take either an ethnic studies course or a social justice course.  A related but slightly different measure, which […]

At long last, the University of Chicago contravenes its own principles of political and ideological neutrality

One by one, elite American colleges and universities (as well as the less prestigious ones) are giving in to Wokeness, rushing to embrace Critical Race Theory, trying to suppress “hate speech,” and indoctrinating students with a preferred ideology when they arrive on campus.  The University of Chicago hasn’t been immune to this, but I’ve taken […]

Don’t open the schools and universities, at least “live”

When the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) weighed in a while ago saying that it was essential to reopen the nation’s schools, that was before the big resurgence of the pandemic in many states. Many colleges and universities have already decided to reopen as well, though with restrictions (Harvard, for example, will have online classes, […]

A hard case to make a good law: the ideological impurity of David Starkey

The original saying I paraphrase above, from Oliver Wendell Holmes, is “hard cases make bad law”, meaning you shouldn’t erect general principles based on extreme cases. But in this instance, regarding the defenestration of scholars who say things unpalatable to their peers, or odious things in general, these are the hard cases that should be […]

A bummer year for American colleges, exacerbated by a new government policy

My Ph.D. alma mater Harvard has announced its attendance policy for the 2020-2021 academic year. As the articles below report (click on screenshots), at that school every single class, large or small, will be taught online. Further, only 40% of the undergraduate students will be allowed on campus at one time. In the fall semester, […]

Harvard backs down on punishing students who join extra-University “final clubs”

Several years ago, Harvard University decided to punish students who joined off-campus “final clubs” whose membership was limited to members of one sex only. (These were both all-female and all-male clubs.) Given that these clubs had nothing to do with Harvard, I and others objected to Harvard’s punishing students for off-campus activities that involved freedom […]

A reasonable criterion for assessing whether to topple statues, remove names, and so on

Glory be! Ross Douthat, the conservative New York Times columnist, has finally confected an argument that makes a lot of sense. (Almost everything I’ve written on this site about Douthat has been critical, usually taking issue with his weird religious ideas.) But his NYT op-ed below lays what seems to be a reasonable way to […]