A report by the American Association of University Professor describes potential threats to academic freedom since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A key portion of the report, which was prepared by a special committee tasked with “assessing risks to academic freedom and free inquiry posed by the nation’s response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,” looks at provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which the report states “gravely threaten academic freedom.” In general, the report states, “The speed with which the law was introduced and passed [in October 2001], the lack of deliberation surrounding its enactment, and the directions it provides for law-enforcement agencies have raised troubling questions about its effects on privacy, civil liberties, and academic freedom.”
The last third of the twentieth century witnessed the rise and triumph of the post-modern or, better yet, the “New Age University,” whose core mission involves bringing America into a new age based on substantially altered principles and social forms.
A mistake by a Congressional staff member ignited a review of research projects approved by the National Institutes of Health. But despite what U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) called “scientific McCarthyism,” it turned out Congress had not declared war on the NIH approval process.
Several months have passed since a federal commission urged changes to how the government enforces Title IX of the Education of Amendments. Several years have passed since the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights last issued a Clarification of OCR’s policies to determine compliance with the measure. On July 11, in a “Dear Colleague” letter, OCR issued what Gerald Reynolds, assistant secretary for civil rights, termed a “Further Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance Regarding Title IX Compliance.”
Conservatives willing to brave the touchy-feely miasma of the Supreme Court’s recent decision of Grutter v. Bollinger, which allows universities to consider race in admissions as an element of diversity, should be heartened by the ruling, flawed as it is. Here’s why.
Last year, 15 universities comprising the University of North Carolina system (excluding the N.C. School of the Arts) received $123.6 million in what are known as “overhead receipts” from federal research grants. That money, which the UNC system prefers to call “facilities and administrative receipts,” is money given on top of the actual grant amount that is intended to defray the administrative and institutional costs in conducting the actual research.
Beyond the publicity-seeking protests and the condescending “teach-ins,” the effects of the war on terror and the aftermath of Sept. 11 on universities have been subtle but significant. In some respects, universities have been asked to contribute to U.S. security efforts in ways other sectors could not.
All eyes are on Michigan now, thanks to a case before the Supreme Court involving the University of Michigan Law Schools’ use of racial preferences in admissions decisions. It is a case being watched with extreme interest by N.C. higher-education officials , public and private.
In late February a federal commission released its final report on recommendations on reforming the enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Entitled “‘Open to All’: Title IX at Thirty,” the Secretary of Education’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics praises the legislation for expanding athletic opportunities for women but criticizes how enforcement has led to the elimination of opportunities for men.
The litigation over race-based admissions policies is probably the most important case the Supreme Court will decide in its current term. Those who think that it’s somehow progress for government institutions to treat classes of individuals differently because of their ancestry are pulling out all the stops to defend race-based admissions policies, including an intellectually dishonest argument that diversity enhances education and cries that the sky will fall if schools like the University of Michigan can’t stack the deck in favor of applicants in certain groups. Here are a few thoughts on this momentous case.