Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
While listening to the most recent episode of the Ricochet Podcast, something that Mitch Daniels said stuck out at me. When asked about college major, he said that he believed that all disciplines are important. Now, as president of a major college institution, it would most likely be inappropriate for him to single out […]
I’m sure Ricochet readers who know my work are surprised it has taken me this long to write something about the disinvitation push at UC Berkeley against comedian Bill Maher. After all, it’s one of the major topics in my latest short book, Freedom From Speech, and even the term “disinvitation season” was an internal FIRE term until this year. The truth is, I was waiting to hear back on an op-ed I’d written about Maher which fell through as the case developed.
But today, at the Huffington Post (I think it’s important not to just preach to the choir), I outline five major points that people should keep in mind even as UC Berkeley seems to be doing the right thing. But, one point I thought Ricochet readers would enjoy in particular, was my criticism of Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR for trying to shift the debate about Bill Maher over to a hypothetical about the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s my take on that in full in the fifth point of my piece.
Reason has an article about California Governor Jerry Brown signing a bill mandating that colleges police their students’ sex lives. In addition to instituting some awful concepts of due process, the law calls for students to refrain from sexual activity until their partners give “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement… [which] must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” He opines:
Some congrats are in order, I suppose? To collectivist feminists, doomsayers of the “rape is an ever-worsening epidemic” variety, and other puritans: Your so-called progressivism has restored Victorian Era prudishness to its former place as a guiding moral compass. Well done, liberals.
I have a friend (who shall remain nameless), who was chosen many a year ago to edit the student newspaper at a public high school (that shall also remain nameless). Assuming the reins of power, he and his fellow editors sent out a prank survey to the rising freshman, asking them about their sexual activity. Needless to say, there were a number of irate parents who called the principal of the school, and my friend had some explaining to do.
I mention these youthful shenanigans because yesteryear’s prank is now a solemn responsibility at Clemson University in South Carolina: if you want to remain a student at the university or prosper as a faculty member, you must fill out a detailed survey — conducted on the university’s behalf by a third party — in which you are required to describe your drinking habits, sexual activity, and attitudes there toward:
It’s Labor Day weekend, which means that professors are brushing off their dress robes, administrators are running around campus like mad men, parents are dealing with a simultaneous rush of emotions and emptying of wallets, and college freshmen are being herded from one orientation event to another while desperately trying to figure out more important things — like where their classes will be, what time the dining hall closes, and how a laundry machine works.
Those vital matters aside — what, you think I’m kidding? — college presents a number of challenges to young people for which they’re often unprepared. Many of us have been there — some recently, some a long time ago — and all of us wish we’d heard more and listened with greater attention. So, in 200 words or less, what should a frosh know and remember over the next four years?
Maybe it’s just that in my area unemployment is actually quite low, but I’m having a dickens of a time filling 2 production positions. I’ve had a run of applications from janitors, bartenders, warehouse pickers, and criminal justice majors, none of whom actually seem to read the job description. I need someone who can build […]
Today, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has a big announcement about a major step in the decades-long war against unconstitutional speech codes at America’s public colleges and universities. Below is my statement from FIRE’s press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.:
Twenty-five years ago we had reason to think that the “temporary insanity” of campus speech codes had come to an end.
In light of recent attempts to delegitimize conservative speech — from the firing of Brandon Eich to the string of attacks on conservative commencement speakers and their subsequent withdrawals, did you ever fantasize about what you would like to say to those college grads if you got the chance? No need to do so any […]
I’m thinking a lot about an idea I’ve had recently for a new business, based, in part, on Peter Thiel’s notion of awarding grants for those who drop out of college. Perhaps you can give me your thoughts? I’d like to figure out a way for the Thiel Fellowship to scale. While I’m sure it’s nice for the 20 kids who are selected for the $100,000 grant, it’s not exactly going to create the kind of technological innovations we need. So here’s my idea:
What if high-achieving students started systematically getting admitted to top schools and the rejecting them? Such students could then use their admissions letters to signal to prospective employers that they that they have high IQs without having to contract the debt that increasingly accompanies a college education. The employers, in turn, could train these students to their own specifications — and cheaply.
I’m particularly thinking of the younger ones, who are still minimally employable and not terribly mature.
A lot of people are realizing that college isn’t a great deal for many (or most) people. But one of the reasons people send their kids to college is because they want them to have a pleasant post-adolescent/early-adulthood transitional experience. I’m not suggesting that colleges do a great job of providing this. Many people spend their college years wasting enormous amounts of time and money while eroding their moral character. Still, in broad terms, you can see how college seems like the right choice to many people. It offers some independence, but also some supervision; it has a natural starting and ending point; professors and counselors and friends will encourage students to spend their years there planning for some productive future to follow. And of course you get a degree (assuming you finish, that is).
With three kids in college and friends who’ve needed help with their paperwork, I’ve spent a lot of time navigating the waters of college applications, and nothing is more irritating to me than the essay. Some schools mercifully don’t require it, but many do—and it makes me cringe.
According to the College Board, essays are important because they give students a chance to “reveal their best qualities and to show an admission committee what makes them stand out.”
Three months after its creation, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault issued its first report (PDF) this past Monday night. Titled “Not Alone,” and accompanied by a new website, NotAlone.gov, the report announces new recommended practices for colleges and universities nationwide. Unfortunately, the Task Force fails to answer—or even address—my organization’s, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)’s, grave and continuing concerns about campus civil liberties and the reliability, impartiality, and fundamental fairness of campus judicial proceedings for students accused of sexual harassment and assault.
Here is an excerpt from my official statement released yesterday:
Because Charles says it all, I post this — this brilliant and biting and sad letter — without comment:
I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” and was looking forward to it. But it has been “postponed.” Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.” This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of “hurting our faculty and students of color.”
It’s college admissions season, and across the land, there are tears of joy and pain. But mostly pain. This was among the most brutal years ever for acceptances.
The news articles focus on the Ivies, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Acceptance rates are down pretty much across the board. Private college counselors, who take in upwards of $10,000 to assist with the application process, are now trying to explain to their clients why they (or rather, their children) weren’t accepted anywhere they applied, even their safeties.
Cal-State professor Richard Samuelson has written a brilliant piece for the April 1, 2014 edition of Liberty Law blog. It begins:
In a move designed to foster diversity and to create a university that “thinks like America,” Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, the President of Harvard University announced yesterday that the school will embrace egalitarian admissions. The school will no longer give priority to students with good grades, high SAT scores, and impressive extra-curricular activities. Such policies have, Dr. Faust acknowledged, created an “elitist” and “inegalitarian” atmosphere at the college. “It is unacceptable in 2014 to be favoring the intelligent over the unlearned, and the energetic over the slothful,” she proclaimed.Starting next year Harvard’s incoming class will have SAT scores ranging from six to sixteen hundred to produce, for the first time, a truly diverse freshman class. The class’ scores will resemble the distribution of scores across the United States.
Over the past few years, as anxiety about the value proposition of college has spread, there have been increasing calls for transparency in higher education, such as the 2012 proposal by Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden to make data about employment and earnings for graduates available to the public.
While that proposal is still floating around Congress, the folks at the Atlantic have done some of the spadework, releasing data earlier today on the most and least lucrative colleges and majors. Here’s what they found.
Being offended is what happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged. And if you make it through four years of college without having your deepest beliefs challenged, you should demand your money back.
I have been saying that in speeches on campus for more than a decade. Even though the line often gets a laugh, the idea that students have a “right not to be offended” seems more entrenched on campus than ever.