Higher Education and the Threat of Fascism

In a recent essay published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley is haunted by a spectre—the spectre of American universities aiding the rise of fascism. (The essay, “Fascism and the University” is subscriber-only content, unfortunately.) He says that “patterns have emerged that suggest the resurgence of fascist politics globally” and … Continue reading “Higher Education and the Threat of Fascism”


Have North Carolina Colleges Improved Their Free Speech Protections?

Free speech on campus has become a point of concern for many. News reports describe speakers being disinvited from campus or shouted down. Events such as students being arrested for giving away free copies of the U.S. Constitution on a college campus have become ordinary. North Carolina has not been immune to this worrisome trend. In … Continue reading “Have North Carolina Colleges Improved Their Free Speech Protections?”


Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech? A Review of Campus Speech Codes

This report examines the speech and assembly protections for students and faculty members at North Carolina’s universities, both public and private. It is a follow-up to the 2010 report, “Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech? A Review of Campus Speech Codes.” In the eight years since the publication of that report, North Carolina … Continue reading “Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech? A Review of Campus Speech Codes”


A New Campus Invention for Policing Speech

Colleges are using a new tool with the frightening potential to shut down open dialogue. They go by the benign-sounding name of “bias response teams.”  Bias response teams monitor what students and faculty say. They encourage students to report, often anonymously, comments or behavior that make them feel uncomfortable or threatened, even if the speech … Continue reading “A New Campus Invention for Policing Speech”


A College Grows on Black Mountain

One of higher education’s perplexing questions is why, in a nation as diverse geographically, demographically, and philosophically as the United States, do most colleges and universities seem so much alike? One answer is that there is so much oversight: from accrediting agencies, from government bodies, and from professional associations, that conformity is assured. But that … Continue reading “A College Grows on Black Mountain”


Free Speech at UNC: Improvement, but Still Lots to Do

In 2017, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 527 (now State Law 2017-196) in order to foster free, open inquiry in the state’s colleges and universities. One of the provisions ordered the University of North Carolina system Board of Governors to produce an annual report on two major categories of intellectual freedom: free speech … Continue reading “Free Speech at UNC: Improvement, but Still Lots to Do”


How Does a University Advance an ‘Athlete-friendly’ Curriculum?

Remember the huge University of North Carolina athletics scandal, whereby the university’s athletics department managed to arrange for star football and basketball players to get preferential treatment to such an extent that many graduated with college educations in name only? That scandal began to break in 2010 and hit with full force for the next … Continue reading “How Does a University Advance an ‘Athlete-friendly’ Curriculum?”



Can More Information Help Students Avoid College Debt?

The Department of Education is poised to replace Obama-era regulations on for-profit colleges and universities with more broad-based transparency measures. On August 10, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos revealed her plan to fully repeal the “gainful employment” regulations that required for-profit colleges to publish information on their graduates’ student debt levels and post-graduation earnings. Under the … Continue reading “Can More Information Help Students Avoid College Debt?”


University Foundations: A Convenient Way to Bypass Oversight

As public institutions funded by taxpayers, state colleges and universities are limited in the kinds of commercial activity in which they can participate. This is particularly so when it comes to university land or property. However, through the use of institutionally affiliated—but still private—non-profit  “foundations,” universities have found a convenient way to bypass these restrictions … Continue reading “University Foundations: A Convenient Way to Bypass Oversight”