higher education

Is Brett Kavanaugh the New Scalia—or Just Another Kennedy?

As the United States has grown more and more ideologically polarized, the divide has been magnified on the Supreme Court. The divisions on the Court made Justice Anthony Kennedy the most powerful man in America by 2018 because he was often the Court’s swing vote on important decisions. Where the swing vote of the Supreme [...]

In Academia as in Government, Personnel Is Policy

News is that Providence College, where I taught for 27 years, will be getting a new president in 2020. He won’t have troubles with money or buildings, whereas for re-establishing the Catholic faith as the school’s foundation, aim, and reason for existence, he will face, outside of the theology department, a nearly universal hostility from a [...]

When Academia Adopts Corporate Production Metrics

A little more often than now and then, some ruse, hoax, or stratagem upends academe. Recently, a small pod of researchers scandalized “cultural studies” by publishing, in prestigious journals, a plethora of counterfeit studies: make-believe research addressing preposterous issues such as the relation between the intimate anatomy of pets and the gender identities of their [...]

An Education to Restore Wonder

On a recent fall afternoon, bright and chilly as it can be in the Midwest, a group of parents in St. Louis had the opportunity for an informal visit from the president of Wyoming Catholic College and his wife, who is an associate professor at the school. The Doctors Arbery—Glenn and Virginia—each brought to the [...]

“Student-Centered” Colleges and Universities Retreat from Responsibility

Western culture, like Christianity, is generously teleological. Deep in the gullies of popular culture, high-profile coaches chatter about achieving goals at the end of the season while damaged celebrities explain therapeutic processes that have yielded redemptive outcomes. High culture abounds with savvy talking heads who can identify the long-term objectives of this or that nation; [...]

The Humanities Won’t Save You!

I was recently asked by a student group at my university to participate in a panel discussion about the humanities. Having been asked the rather loaded question, “why are the humanities needed more now than ever?,” the panelists were expected to defend the humanities, presumably against some charges or enemies that are particularly contemporary. But [...]

Islamization in the Schools

While jihadists across the globe are busy slitting throats, American school children are taught that jihad is an “inner struggle” and Islam means “peace.” While Muslim rape gangs destroy the lives of teenage girls in England, American teenagers learn that Muhammad was a champion of women’s rights. And although American students are taught all the [...]

Due Process Rights Help Vindicate Victims of Sexual Assault

A former Sacred Heart University student accused of making up rape allegations against two football players to gain sympathy from a prospective boyfriend faces trial this week in Connecticut on charges of falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted. According to press [...]

On the Strange Function of Absolutes

Most people today “absolutely” maintain that they do not hold or live by “absolutes.” They live by their desires and choices, which are readily changeable. No one is much bothered by the “logic” of his own views. The proposition that “No absolutes exist” is itself an absolute. If it is true, an absolute exists. If [...]

Why St. Gregory’s University Is Closing Its Doors

On November 8, 2017, St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, announced to student, staff, and the media that it would “suspend operations” indefinitely at the close of the fall semester. The announcement itself wasn’t particularly surprising, as the financial woes of the university were an open secret. University leadership, working with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma [...]

Progressive Politicians Two-Faced Over Due Process Rights

For nearly a decade, progressive politicians like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) helped to create a culture that has denied due process protections to college students accused of sexual harassment and assault. Convinced that college campuses had become havens for rapists, Senator Gillibrand and her progressive peers in the Senate helped to usher in new federal requirements [...]

The Crisis of the Christian Colleges

We are often told these days, quite plausibly, that Christian universities and colleges are in acute crisis. The threat comes from campus radicals in alliance with the federal government’s educational machinery, itself operated by radicalized functionaries. “The expansion of the scope of Title IX legislation by the Obama administration makes colleges that hold to traditional [...]

Teaching Them Better

In “The Preacher,” a 1956 episode of Gunsmoke, a minister who has lost his faith is relentlessly hounded by a bully until Marshal Matt Dillon intervenes. Asks the persecuted preacher: “Why, Marshal, why are men always fighting and hating each other?” Leaving aside the answer that St. James, in his Epistle, gives to that perennial [...]

Putting First Things First in a College Education

St. Gregory's University just concluded its first bi-annual “Leisure and Labor Conference,” which brings academics and professionals together to reflect on the interplay between the liberal arts and the professions. The dialogue between Martha and Jesus in Chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel captures the essence of this relationship between labor and leisure. Mary sits at Jesus’s [...]

Welcome to the Oppression Olympics

I knew crazy things were happening on college campuses but it seems I wasn’t acutely aware how certain precincts in institutions of “higher” learning had become equal parts Orwellian insane asylum and the Theater of the Absurd. By the time you finish reading the article titled “16 Most Ridiculously PC Moments on College Campuses in [...]

What Happened to Catholic Working Class Colleges?

David Leonhardt, in the January 18 New York Times, asked whether the “heyday of the colleges that serve[d] America’s working class is over.” He reminisces about the City College of New York, which used to cost only a few hundred dollars a year but was the “Harvard of the proletariat.” He laments the fact that good, [...]

Higher Education in Hell

In “That perfection of the Intellect,” wrote the lucid John Henry Newman in The Idea of a University, and its beau ideal, to be imparted to individuals in their respective measures, is the clear, calm, accurate vision and comprehension of all things, as far as the finite mind can embrace them, each in its place, and with [...]

How Catholic Schools Lose Their Identity

Faced with a declining population, decreasing tax revenues, underfunded schools, and no money to clean up a toxic environmental hazard, the town of Black Hawk, Colorado, voted to legalize gambling. As Newsweek reported back in 1994, the citizens of Black Hawk thought the legalization of gambling would solve their problems. Alderman Herb Bowle, for example, [...]

What’s Wrong with Guaranteeing a Free College Education?

Bernie Sanders failed in his bid for the presidency, but one of his major policy proposals—which helped to garner his much-discussed college student support—of guaranteeing free tuition at public universities and colleges is likely to continue to be pushed. It’s not surprising that this notion has gained traction, in light of the deepening student debt [...]

My College Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult

On my way to work at Providence College, I pass by two notable murals painted on concrete retaining walls to edify motorists passing by. One of them is executed in the brightly colored style of a cartoon, with exaggerated circles and curlicues for eyes and hair and ears and noses. It cries out in big [...]

The New Ignorance Far Worse than the Old

“Education,” wrote Malcolm Muggeridge fifty years ago, “the great fraud and mumbo-jumbo of the age,” had not brought to the mass of men the best that has been done and thought and said, but rather spread ignorance and folly across the land. Muggeridge understood, though he did not feel he needed to say so explicitly, [...]

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