Category Archives: colleges and universities

A state university disinvites an anti-Semite

It’s a test of your adherence to free speech if you can stand up for the rights of speakers whose message you despise. And this is one case, as reported on December 24 in the Los Angeles Times (click on screenshot below). San Diego State, a public university in California, gave $170,000 to four of […]

Literary studies on the decline—but why? Scholars analyze the problem

A new supplement in the Chronicle of Higher Education (click on screenshot below) comprises a series of 14 shortish pieces about the decline in funding for and in the reputation of literary studies in American universities. Several of the authors (all professors) diagnose the problem, and some of them offer solutions, none of which seem […]

Harvard students demand ethnic studies department

On December 17 I reported about Harvard’s denial of tenure to Lorgia García Peña, an associate professor of Romance Languages and Literature and of History and Literature. The denial was approved by President Lawrence Bacow, who has never overturned a faculty recommendation. Why García Peña was denied tenure is unclear, and we’ll never know for […]

Many colleges, including the University of Chicago, now omit standardized admissions tests like the SAT as requirements for application. Is this justifiable?

Last year the University of Chicago made standardized admissions test, like the ACT and SAT, optional for students applying to get in. But this is only one school among over a thousand that is going test-optional. And, as this New York Times article reports (click on screenshot), a coalition from California, described as “advocacy groups […]

University of Chicago Dean’s List made stricter; students object

Grade inflation is rampant on nearly every college campus, and that reduces the ability of employers or graduate schools to discriminate among applications. This is made even harder by the tendency of schools to stop using standardized tests (e.g., the SAT for getting into undergraduate school and the GREs for getting into grad school). What […]

Harvard students demonstrate at the Crimson’s building, continuing to protest the newspaper’s asking ICE for a comment

I’ve posted two pieces (here and here) about the recent fracas involving the Crimson, the newspaper published by Harvard students—and probably the most famous college newspaper in the U.S.  As you may recall, on September 12 a campus group called Act on a Dream had a rally at Harard that, among other things, called for the […]

Northwestern student newspaper apologizes for the “harm” it caused students by covering Jeff Sessions’s visit to campus

Recently, two student newspapers from good schools have been involved in fracases about practices of journalism. First, the Harvard Crimson, as I reported earlier, had to defend its coverage of an anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement demonstration after students, making false claims, went after the paper for “outing” students and creating an “unsafe” atmosphere on campus. […]

Harvard’s undergraduate council censures the College newspaper asking ICE for a comment after a demonstration

As I reported in late October, a Harvard group called “Act on a Dream” staged a demonstration on campus calling for the abolition of the U.S. government’s directorates of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security. After the demonstration, reporters for the undergraduate newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, called ICE asking […]

Today’s reading: Pinker in Skeptic magazine on rationality and “post-truth” culture

The much- (and unjustly) maligned Steven Pinker wrote the cover story for this month’s Skeptic Magazine, which is available free at the link below (click on screenshot). The topic is the so-called “post-truth” era in which we live: an era in which reason is said to be expendable and the truth is only what is […]

The Annual College Halloween Follies: The University of Texas

Tomorrow is Halloween, and what better way to celebrate than by scaring you about how it’s celebrated at some American colleges? The institution at hand happens to be the venerable University of Texas at Austin, a public university and one of America’s better state schools. For Halloween, however, the Dean of Students Office chose to […]