Tag: commencement

Mike Rowe: “Never Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring It with You”


When I worked as an ACT/SAT tutor, I sometimes got to chat with my students after the lesson finished. Given the opportunity, I’d offer the following advice: 1) In choosing majors, consider both what you enjoy learning about and what someone else will pay you enough to do to make a living, and 2) Understand that these need not be the same thing. People who are particularly diligent, talented, and lucky sometimes get to be paid to follow their passions; most folks don’t and very few who do get to do so straight out of school. Moreover, is there absolutely nothing dishonorable or disappointing in using your remunerative work to finance your actual passions. That’s the point about passions, anyway: You’re interested in them even when you’re not getting paid to pursue them.

In a new Prager U video addressed to graduates, Mike Rowe made not only that point, but took it several excellent steps further:

FIRE Study: ‘Disinvitation Season’ Is Getting Worse


shutterstock_150667244It’s not just a question of perception; the push for speakers (commencement and otherwise) to be disinvited from campus has gotten worse.

As I wrote in a long piece today in the Huffington Post:

So far, FIRE has discovered 192 incidents in which students or faculty have pushed for speakers invited to campus (both for commencement and other speaking engagements) to be disinvited since 2000. Eighty-two of those incidents were “successful” in that ultimately the speaker did not speak. Of those 82 successful disinvitations, 53 occurred via the revocation of the speaker’s invitation to campus, 17 were from speakers withdrawing in the face of protest, and 12 were “heckler’s vetoes” in which speakers were shouted down, chased off stage, or otherwise prevented from speaking.

Bloomberg Chastises Thought Police at Harvard Commencement


Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock.comMichael Bloomberg just wrapped up quite a commencement address to Harvard grads. Titled “Don’t Major in Intolerance,” the political independent and former mayor surprisingly took academia’s thought police to task:

In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas. Today, on many campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.

Perhaps nowhere is that more true than here in the Ivy League. In the 2012 presidential race, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama. That statistic, drawn from Federal Election Commission data, should give us pause — and I say that as someone who endorsed President Obama. When 96 percent of faculty donors prefer one candidate to another, you have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a university should offer. Diversity of gender, ethnicity and orientation is important. But a university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogenous.

Media Start to Notice Campus ‘Disinvitation Season’


A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the early start of a phenomenon we’ve observed at the FIRE office for years: “disinvitation season.” Disinvitation season is the annual ritual of campuses choosing speakers, often times for commencement addresses, and then facing a backlash as either students, faculty, or both demand that the speaker be disinvited. While it’s hard to say for sure, from my vantage point, disinvitation season on campus seems to be getting a little more intense each year.

Over the weekend, The Philadelphia Inquirer published a piece focusing particularly on the controversy over Condoleezza Rice speaking at Rutgers University. At the same time, a similar controversy took place involving Secretary Rice at the University of Minnesota. And my colleague, Robert Shibley, recently wrote over at National Review Online about still another incident at a college in Montana involving an evangelical Christian speaker. Furthermore, a newspaper out in Ohio just profiled the cost of such speakers and briefly discusses the controversy over Ohio State University’s invitation to Chris Matthew’s to speak.