Vote No for Affirmative Action for Conservatives

Editor’s note: This is the first part of an essay on how to restore ideological balance in universities without affirmative action for conservative scholars. The second part can be found here. Legislating a problem away is an extremely tempting option, when available. Why not try to fix the most intractable problem in public higher education—its intensifying … Continue reading “Vote No for Affirmative Action for Conservatives”


The Contemporary Relevance of A Poem on the Underground Wall

The last train is nearly due The underground is closing soon And in the dark deserted station Restless in anticipation A man waits in the shadows On my return to Georgetown’s campus this fall, I was greeted with the following broadcast e-mail message dated September 6: Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community, We write … Continue reading “The Contemporary Relevance of A Poem on the Underground Wall


The Campus Free Speech Problem Worsens and Washington Finally Acts

The turnabout in federal policy towards higher education has been dramatic. Back on September 7, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that her department was rescinding the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter in which the Obama administration’s Office for Civil Rights imposed new standards for the way colleges must deal with allegations of sexual assault and … Continue reading “The Campus Free Speech Problem Worsens and Washington Finally Acts”


Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Late last year, NC State University purchased two small office buildings on Oberlin Road, near the university’s East campus, for the price of $3.1 million. Their location, situated between NC State’s historic bell tower and the thriving private, mixed-use community at Cameron Village, has considerable commercial value. If State finds new tenants for the buildings … Continue reading “Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?”


Are Students Addicted to Distraction?

A few years ago, something changed in class. I customarily taught classes where my students read multiple books, wrote thoughtful reflective essays, and came to class prepared to engage in rich discussions. I’d often come to class with a few notes and the goal of being extemporaneous for the duration of the class. Every student … Continue reading “Are Students Addicted to Distraction?”


Everyone is Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Except College Students

When it comes to defending themselves against accusations, college students are fighting an uphill battle. Today, students accused of misconduct are often subjected to long and invasive investigation processes without the right to legal representation, to question witnesses, or to be presumed innocent until proven guilty—all basic due process procedures to which every student should … Continue reading “Everyone is Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Except College Students”


How Not to Recover from a Crisis, Mizzou Edition

The University of Missouri, where I teach and which I dearly love, is in crisis. Freshman enrollment at the university’s Columbia campus (Mizzou) is down by a whopping 35% from two years ago. Missouri’s governor and legislature slashed Mizzou’s state appropriation by $22 million this year. Administrators have responded by cutting Mizzou’s operating budget by … Continue reading “How Not to Recover from a Crisis, Mizzou Edition”


The Chinese Don’t Like Academic Freedom, So American Schools Should Avoid Their Confucius Institutes

Academic freedom has long been a guiding principle for American colleges and universities: Neither faculty nor students should be told what to say or punished for saying whatever they think. That principle has been under attack in recent years as militants try to drive out those who dissent from their beliefs, but for the most … Continue reading “The Chinese Don’t Like Academic Freedom, So American Schools Should Avoid Their Confucius Institutes”


Grade Inflation Just Got Respectable: The New Eligibility Rule Governing Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship

Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship is now in its twenty-fourth year of existence. Originally the brainchild of then Governor Zell Miller, since 1993 this merit-based scholarship program has distributed in excess of $9 billion in lottery proceeds to about 1.7 million qualifying recipients. In order to be eligible for HOPE, which covers about 80% of tuition at … Continue reading “Grade Inflation Just Got Respectable: The New Eligibility Rule Governing Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship”


Secretary DeVos Begins to Rectify the Title IX Mistake

It is very rare for a federal agency to admit having made a mistake and rarer still for the secretary of a cabinet department to announce a U-turn in policy in a heavily publicized speech. But that is exactly what Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos did on September 7. Speaking at George Mason University, Secretary … Continue reading “Secretary DeVos Begins to Rectify the Title IX Mistake”