The BlackLivesMattering of Higher Ed: Some Notes from the Field

When the University of Chicago English Department announced over the summer that, in response to the protests after the death of George Floyd, they would only admit graduate students willing to work in Black Studies (a proclamation that, after media attention brought criticism, they recently removed from their webpage), observers of the increasing dominance of … Continue reading “The BlackLivesMattering of Higher Ed: Some Notes from the Field”


They’ve Got to Get Rid of Western Civ—They Have To 

For ten years I served on the GRE Literature Exam committee. The exam is one of the special subject matter exams separate from the regular GRE (with math, verbal, analytical sections), and several English departments require that applicants take it. Each year five of us would meet for several days at Educational Testing Service’s campus … Continue reading “They’ve Got to Get Rid of Western Civ—They Have To “


The Sociology of the Academic Outrage Mob

The academy seems built for public controversy because professors are encouraged to question ideas and popular beliefs. It shouldn’t be surprising that academic outrage has a long history. In the past, scholars could find themselves in trouble, like Galileo, who defended Copernican astronomy and then proceeded to attack Pope Urban VIII, a position so unpopular … Continue reading “The Sociology of the Academic Outrage Mob”


College Reform: Build Lifeboats to Escape the Sinking Ship

In their recent Martin Center policy brief, Joy Pullmann and Sumantra Maitra get much right about the activist professor problem in academia. These professors are dominating the profession in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible three or four years ago. Their control has led to an ideological monoculture, which suppresses freedom of thought and … Continue reading “College Reform: Build Lifeboats to Escape the Sinking Ship”


How Affirmative Action Really Works

Even if you can’t remember his name (and who but an Indian could?), you may be familiar with Vijay JoJo Chokal-Ingam’s story as told in his recently self-published Almost Black: The True Story Of How I Got Into Medical School By Pretending To Be Black. The book is a fascinating personal story, but more important … Continue reading “How Affirmative Action Really Works”


Will the Surge of Support for Free Speech on Campus Do Any Good?

Last month, PEN America, the U.S. branch of an international organization, published a strong defense of free speech on college campuses. The nearly century-old group stands for the idea that “People everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to … Continue reading “Will the Surge of Support for Free Speech on Campus Do Any Good?”


The University of Chicago’s Support for Free Speech Sparks Opposition

Last month, just before the new academic year began, the University of Chicago’s dean of students, John Ellison, sent a letter (reproduced in this piece) to all incoming students. It was meant to reaffirm the university’s commitment to free speech and inform the students that they shouldn’t expect the academic environment at Chicago to include … Continue reading “The University of Chicago’s Support for Free Speech Sparks Opposition”