The Reopening of the American Mind

In 1987, philosopher Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind, a book critiquing higher education in America. As a self-described teacher “dedicated to liberal education,” Bloom offered a thoughtful account of illiberal cultural and ideological trends: Civic education turned away from concentrating on the Founding to concentrating on openness based on history and … Continue reading “The Reopening of the American Mind”

UNC’s Free-Expression Survey Elicits Both Fear and Hope

North Carolina’s public universities have a problem with free expression, and it mostly doesn’t come from censorious administrators or biased faculty members. Instead, it’s the students themselves who muzzle free speech. “Many UNC System students do indeed have significant concerns about expressing political views on campus.” So state the findings of a comprehensive, carefully designed … Continue reading “UNC’s Free-Expression Survey Elicits Both Fear and Hope”

Remembering Title IX Abuses

Recently, Title IX has been in the news because of the Biden administration’s promised (and, as of yesterday, delivered) rejection of much-needed Trump-era reforms. As we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the statute, introduced as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, it is worth revisiting the history of Title IX and reviewing its … Continue reading “Remembering Title IX Abuses”

Who’s Afraid of a Little Data?

We’ve heard a lot, in recent years, about a free speech crisis on our college campuses. There are stories of speakers being shouted down and of students being afraid to voice their opinions, for fear of ostracism by their peers or retaliation from faculty and staff. Some have dismissed this talk as politically inspired rhetoric, … Continue reading “Who’s Afraid of a Little Data?”

Revitalizing Freedom of Expression at Davidson 

Over the last several years, Davidson College’s inhospitality to freedom of thought has caught the attention of concerned alumni. Among other concerns, a group of alumni was deeply dismayed by the campus’s lack of support of, and sometimes even hostility towards, open inquiry and free expression.  In 2018, these alumni formally organized themselves into an … Continue reading “Revitalizing Freedom of Expression at Davidson “

The Biggest Threat to Academic Freedom? We Don’t Teach It.

Challenges to Academic Freedom, a new volume edited by University of Georgia professor Joseph Hermanowicz, offers a fresh slate of perspectives on some of the issues potentially clouding academic freedom’s future. It’s a worthwhile collection, and it arrives at an opportune time. While I can’t touch upon each entry in the space here, a few … Continue reading “The Biggest Threat to Academic Freedom? We Don’t Teach It.”

The Long Decline of the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania was an excellent school when I was an undergraduate there in the mid-1960s. The politics were polyglot, reflecting an era when the professional classes and even the professoriate were more ideologically diverse than is the case today. Campus activism of earlier in the decade surrounding civil rights marches had faded and … Continue reading “The Long Decline of the University of Pennsylvania”

Gender Studies on the Chopping Block

On February 25, Wyoming’s state senate passed a budget amendment to end funding for the University of Wyoming’s Gender and Women’s Studies program. State senator Cheri Steinmetz (R-Lingle) was concerned that the program promoted “service and activism.” “We’re training activists” with state money, Sen. Steinmetz argued, adding that she lost sleep after studying the array … Continue reading “Gender Studies on the Chopping Block”

Law Student Complains about a Question; Professor Sentenced to Re-education Camp

Law students are adults who have completed an undergraduate degree. They’re in a professional school to learn the law, procedures, and skills they’ll need in a conflict-ridden, frequently harsh world. You would expect that they would act accordingly. Sadly, that’s not always the case. As we’ll see, law students can be petty and vindictive. And … Continue reading “Law Student Complains about a Question; Professor Sentenced to Re-education Camp”

The UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance: A Conversation with a Founding Member

Alumni have been making their voices heard over the past few months. After seeing the alarming direction that their alma maters are taking, alumni at institutions such as Davidson College, the University of Virginia, and Washington & Lee have decided to unite around the principles of free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity. These alumni … Continue reading “The UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance: A Conversation with a Founding Member”