From Boys to Men? A Review of Alexandra Robbins’ ‘Fraternity’

Wars are rarely kind to the wide-ranging pursuit of the truth. The same goes for culture wars, including the war over fraternities. Harvard University’s recent decision to penalize students who join “final clubs” and other single-sex social organizations is one front in that war. In sober moments, opponents of all-male social organizations concede that they … Continue reading “From Boys to Men? A Review of Alexandra Robbins’ ‘Fraternity’”


The Hunt for Faculty Diversity Aims at the Wrong Targets

University administrators and faculty have long been dedicated to increasing the numbers of blacks, Latinos, and women, among others, in their teaching ranks. But despite their intentions and efforts, the desired degree of diversity has not materialized. The reason is there is a pipeline problem. For example, in 2014, black students earned just 1.8 percent of doctoral degrees in the physical sciences. Even if every physics department in the nation were to recruit black Ph.D.s, there wouldn’t a big enough pool to effect much statistical change.

Julie Posselt, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Michigan, wishes to increase faculty diversity by expanding that pipeline and thinks that this pipeline problem has much to do with how Ph.D. students are selected. She makes her case in her new book Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping.


BDS Nonviolence Provides Cover for Violent Allies

Much has been written about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and I will not revisit the debate over its merits. Instead, I will home in one aspect of its character: its espousal of nonviolence. That BDS supporters call for economic, academic, and cultural boycotts, rather than for violence, has been among its most important selling points. As Corey Robin of Brooklyn College put it in a post challenging BDS critics, Palestinians “have taken up BDS as a non-violent tactic, precisely the sort of thing that liberal-minded critics have been calling upon them to do for years.” But the nonviolent tactics of BDS may be nothing more than a smokescreen for its organizers’ real intention—to takedown Israel by any means.


The Dream Is Gone: Leonard Cassuto’s The Graduate School Mess

When an undergraduate student comes to me for advice about graduate school, I always say the same thing: Don’t do it. I tell them that because I was lucky to find a tenure track position after four years of searching for one. In my field, political theory, the job market was then bad and is today terrible. In The Graduate School Mess: What Caused it and How to Fix It, Leonard Cassuto, Professor of English at Fordham University and author of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Graduate Adviser” column, focuses on the situation in the humanities, which sounds even worse than in my field.