The Issue at a Glance

Assault by the DOE (10.1007/s12129-015-9472-5)

Robert Carle, The King’s College

In April 2011 the Obama administration launched a campaign to expand the role of sexual misconduct tribunals on campus. Schools have been ordered to investigate and adjudicate student reports of sexual assault—whether or not alleged victims have medical exams or file incident reports—and warned not “to accord due process rights to the alleged perpetrator” that would “delay the Title IX protections” or risk losing federal funding and being reported to the Department of Justice. In the first entry of this issue’s special section, “Rape Culture on Campus?” Robert Carle details how today’s campus tribunal system “squanders university resources and brands as rapists students…innocent of criminal assault” and betrays actual victims of sexual assault.

The War on Due Process (10.1007/s12129-015-9475-2)

KC Johnson, Brooklyn College

KC Johnson continues the discussion by focusing on the case of Dez Wells, a star athlete expelled in August 2012 for violating Xavier University’s code of student conduct. Accused of sexual assault by a fellow student and found guilty by a Xavier disciplinary board, Wells then sued in federal court and won. Johnson describes how Wells’s case, “the first of a series of state and federal court decisions siding with male college students who claimed their colleges had violated their due process rights,” demonstrates that on today’s campus an accused student’s “best chance for fair treatment often comes from federal courts.”

The Tyranny of Allegations (10.1007/s12129-015-9479-y)

Glenn M. Ricketts, National Association of Scholars

Glenn M. Ricketts delves further into how allegations of sexual assault on college and university campuses are currently being addressed under “unprecedented federal scrutiny.” Ricketts offers case summaries of Joshua Strange and Auburn University, and Ethan Peloe and the University of Cincinnati, which provide an unsettling look at the proceedings behind closed collegiate doors.

The Unsayable (10.1007/s12129-015-9482-3)

Cathy Young

In her “Rape Culture on Campus?” entry, Cathy Young examines the volatile spectrum of reactions to this question and answers by affirming “a need for a better response to real sexual violence on college campuses” as well as “an urgent need for an honest discussion of campus sexual culture.” This would require that “the ‘rape culture’ myth…be challenged and dismantled”—which seems unlikely in a campus climate “where protesters carrying mattresses as a symbol of their battle against rape is the latest vogue.”

The Opposition (10.1007/s12129-015-9481-4)

Peter Wood, Academic Questions

AQ editor Peter Wood closes out the special section with a brief review of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights 2011 decision to treat “sexual violence” on campus as a form of illegal “sex discrimination” in “educational programs and activities,” the repercussions on campus, and growing organized resistance to the new policy.

Academic Freedom on Trial:Adams v. UNCWand the Welcome Erosion ofGarcetti (10.1007/s12129-015-9469-0)

Mike Adams, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Mike Adams offers a detailed account of his recent legal victory against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which “may be the first case in the history of American jurisprudence in which a conservative professor successfully won a jury verdict against a public university over alleged First Amendment retaliation.” Adams was awarded attorney fees, back pay, and a promotion, but considers the most important aspect of the case to be “the academic freedom issue clarified by the 2011 appellate court,” which paved the way for his victory.

How Postmodern Historians Have Helped Cripple the American Left (10.1007/s12129-015-9476-1)

David Kaiser, emeritus, U.S. Naval War College

David Kaiser feels “it is natural for Republicans to complain about leftism in academia” and to “criticize current practices on sound intellectual grounds rather than partisan political ones.” As “a lifelong New Deal Democrat,” however, he sees the impact of what’s happened from another perspective. Having taught history at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, the U.S. Naval War College, and Williams from 1976 until 2013, Kaiser believes the trends dominating academic history have actually bolstered “the new conservative movement that has overturned so many regulations, taken away so many of the rights of organized labor, and rapidly enriched the highest reaches of our society while doing little for anyone else.” And today’s academy isn’t providing students with values “that could dilute the profit motive in our society.”

The Future of (High) Culture in America (10.1007/s12129-015-9470-7)

Daniel Asia, Center for American Culture and Ideas, University of Arizona

Is there high culture in America, and if so, is it in jeopardy? This was the question addressed by participants of the March 2014 inaugural conference of the University of Arizona Center for American Culture and Ideas. Center director Daniel Asia outlines panel addresses on music, dance, and the visual arts, particularly photography, which traced our cultural footprint and offered “views of where we are and where we might be heading.”

Students Aren’t Consumers (10.1007/s12129-015-9473-4)

Larry Hubbell, Institute of Public Service, Seattle University

“In many areas of the economy, higher standards work to improve sales. In academia, it’s the reverse.” “Creeping consumerism” has crept into academics via grade inflation, student evaluations, and the tendency by students to regard syllabi as contracts and to expect study guides for their courses. Larry Hubbell discusses how these changes “commodify the student experience of higher education,” and calls for keeping today’s collegiate consumer appeal distinct from academics.

Progressive Politics in the Canadian University (10.1007/s12129-015-9471-6)

John Attard, University of New Brunswick

Using personal experience as representative of widely reported attacks on academic freedom, John Attard describes the chilling reception he received from fellow education doctoral students and faculty in response to his presentation, “Academic Freedom: Widening the Debate.” “My advice to students entering the discipline,” Attard concludes, “is to be keenly aware of the political imperative to be accepted into the fold. If you are in the field to participate in the free exchange of ideas and dissemination of knowledge, you will be disappointed. If you choose education to engage in…political advocacy and activism, you’ll feel right at home.”

Demographics, Demand, and the Feds: Why Colleges Will Stay Overpriced (10.1007/s12129-015-9477-0)

Wight Martindale Jr., Villanova University

Many critics of the contemporary academy argue that the high and rising cost of a college education and the colossal debt students are assuming have produced a bubble—“too much money spent, too little achieved”—one that is starting to burst. Wight Martindale disagrees: “The so-called education bubble…will not burst. The critics will remain outsiders. The current system will roll along nicely without them.” He elaborates on four analytical premises to explain why.

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