Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Academy for Retribution

NAS

Peter W. Wood writes a letter to the President of Portland State University urging the institution to end its use of academic disciplinary procedures to harass Professor Boghossian. 

How Middlebury College Enabled the Student Riot During Charles Murray's Visit

NAS

NAS President Peter Wood analyzes why Middlebury College allowed the student riot during Charles Murray's campus visit.

A Guide to Disinvitation: My Conversation with Williams College President Adam Falk

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood discusses his correspondance with Williams College's President Falk in light of the disinvitation of John Derbyshire. 

Open Letter to Indiana Wesleyan University

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood calls on Dr. David Wright, president of Indiana Wesleyan University, to investigate allegations of a plagiarized doctoral dissertation issued by the university. 

Diminishing Returns

Rachelle Peterson

Divestment activism has failed. Universities are learning that sanctions rarely accomplish anything.

Divestment Spring

Rachelle Peterson

Students stage sit-ins for divestment, claiming to be "oppressed" by college trustees. 

Fueling Lawsuits

Rachelle Peterson

Harvard students sue to divest from fossil fuels.

Letter to Miami University President: Praise for Inviting George Will

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood wrote a letter to Dr. David C. Hodge, president of Miami University, commending him for his decision to invite George Will to speak on campus. 

Letter to Scripps College President: Re-Invite George Will

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood urges Scripps College president Lori Bettison-Varga to re-invite George Will to speak on campus.

Selecting a Reforming President for the University of Texas

Publius Audax

A faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin offers a reform plan for the university's Board of Regents.

The Resignation of Powers, President of the University of Texas: An Update

Publius Audax

A faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin who previously gave 10 reasons why UT president Bill Powers should step down, recounts recent events leading to Powers' actual resignation.

An Open Letter to Swarthmore's Board of Managers

Peter Berkowitz

NAS board member Peter Berkowitz reflects on Swarthmore President Rebecca Chopp's departure from Swarthmore.

Course Correction: It’s Time for UT-Austin’s President to Step Down

Publius Audax

A faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin calls on the president of the university to step down. 

Letter to Brandeis University President

Jay Bergman

NAS board member and Brandeis alumnus Professor Jay Bergman, expresses his disappointment in the decision not to honor Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Permission to Speak: College Presidents, the Israeli Boycott, and Climate Change

Rachelle Peterson

Examples of the ASA and ACUPCC show that college presidents, in addressing controversies, are at times compelled to reiterate politically correct views on issues such as the Israeli boycott and climate change.

Why People are Losing Trust in Higher Education

George Leef

Exhorbitant presidential salaries have promoted misuse of power and undermined the effectiveness of leadership, leading to distrust among students, faculty, and leaders, writes Harry R. Lewis.

Truman Show

Peter Wood

A sensible university in the Midwest shows a light-hearted side in a video featuring its president. Peter Wood gives a nod to the good humor and reflects on the strains of political correctness cropping up in the university's curriculum. 

Signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

Rachelle Peterson

Nearly 700 college presidents vow to eliminate their campuses' greenhouse gas emissions. NAS found that these schools are concentrated along the two coasts, more likely to be elite liberal arts colleges than universities, predominantly doctorate-granting institutions, and urban. 

Napolitano's Law-Breaking Scheme at UCal

Peter Wood

In her new presidency at the University of California, Janet Napolitano is embracing academic corruption in the form of a spending spree on diversity.

A College President Defends Free Speech

Peter Wood

Amherst College president Biddy Martin turned down a request to dissociate the College from the writings of campus speaker Hadley Arkes. 

Why Mitch Daniels Was Wrong

Peter Wood

The president of Purdue University recently apologized for speaking at an event held by a conservative think tank. He shouldn't have apologized, says Peter Wood.

Napolitano Appointment in California: Everyone's Unhappy

Glenn Ricketts

Janet Napolitano takes the reins as UC president amid a storm of controversy.

Why Mitch Daniels Was Right

Peter Wood

Is Mitch Daniels against academic freedom? Dr. Wood doesn't think so.

Napolitano—A Disastrous Choice

Peter Wood

The University of California Regents' choice of president proves a preference for politics over pedagogy.

Rutgers President Announces Plan to Inflate Diversity Bureaucracy

Ashley Thorne

Rutgers University has appointed a new Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and will create Vice Chancellors for Diversity and Inclusion on all campuses.

Taking Back the University: Better to be Feared Than Loved

Robert Weissberg

Weissberg explains how the political correctness gang is responsible for the attack on Emory University President. 

Emory University's Outcry Against Its President

George W. Dent

Emory University President John Wagner has been vilified by faculty and students for praising the three-fifths compromise in the original Constitution.

John Silber, R.I.P.

Keith Whitaker

Whitaker offers his salute of farewell to Silber, former President of Boston University.

John Silber, Intellectual Gunslinger

Peter Wood

Former president of Boston University and NAS board of advisors member dies.

Why Higher Ed Costs So Much and Delivers So Little

George Leef

The Pope Center looks at how higher education funds are allocated, for better or for worse.

Rookie (University) Presidents

Mitch Pearlstein

Some quests for openness come at a real cost, writes Mitch Pearlstein.

Choosing a Non-Ideological President to Lead Shimer College

Michael Strong

Shimer College has announced the appointment of a new president, Susan Henking, a feminist religious scholar.

Rick Santorum Is Right

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s controversial remarks about higher education.

What Hath Crow Wrought?

George Leef

A skeptical look at Arizona State president Michael Crow.

Are College Presidents Paid Too Much? NAS's Herb London Weighs In

Ashley Thorne

Herb opines that some presidents may deserve the high salaries they receive, but often their income can hurt morale at a university if faculty members perceive it as unfairly extravagant. 

Not Lost, Just 'Finding Our Way'

Peter Wood

Peter Wood proposes a famously confused guide on the Oregon Trail as the archetype of today

Statement by the California Association of Scholars Regarding Chancellor Birgeneau's Remarks on the Tucson Shootings

NAS's California affiliate calls out UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau for his improper use of his position for political advocacy.

Is "Good President" Redundant?

Ashley Thorne

Time magazine recently published a list of the 10 best college presidents. But what makes a president "good"? Are there good college presidents, or are they all just silly people in silly jobs?

CSU Chico Buckles Down on Employees' Mileage

Ashley Thorne

A faculty member at California State University, Chico, sent me the following email from the director of the university's institute for sustainable development:
From: McNall, Scott
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 12:15 PM
To: All Faculty (restricted); All Staff (restricted)
Subject: FW: Mileage Requirement Announcement
California State University, Chico has been recognized nationally for its efforts in sustainability. In 2007 President Zingg was among a small group of campus presidents who took the initiative and signed the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In the spring of 2007 the University updated its Strategic Plan for the Future and introduced a new strategic priority, grounded in the core values of the campus, which recognized the need to prepare students for the challenges they will face in balancing economic, environmental, and social problems. We want them to be informed, environmentally literature citizens. To do this, we need to model the behavior we hope to see in our students and assure that the built environment, the social environment, and the intellectual life of the campus present an integrated understanding of sustainability and, when possible, solutions.
We need to be mindful of our activities and we need to measure them to know if we are making progress toward our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the level set by California in SB 32, and in the goals set forth by the new administration in Washington. In the past, we have not focused on collecting data on campus transportation, which is a key component in all measures of greenhouse gas emissions.
New travel guidelines will go into effect on January 1, 2010. We are fortunate that the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance will collect the necessary travel data and provide information for reporting purposes. We will ask you to record some simple information, which has always been available. For example, we will want to know the actual air mileage flown, and we will want car rental mileage, use of personal vehicles for reimbursed university business, miles traveled in a taxi, miles traveled by rail, etc. We appreciate your patience in using new Travel Expense Claim available on the State Travel Accounting web site at www.csuchico.edu/ao/travel <http://www.csuchico.edu/ao/travel> , and helping the campus to achieve its goal of being a national leader in sustainability.

I was not entirely sure what Scott McNall meant by "mileage" (does he refer only to university business-related travel or all travel, including personal?), so I emailed him to ask. He answered that the new travel requirements are "only to those trips for the university for which people claim reimbursement--all business related." This is reassuring - at least CSU-Chico isn't requiring employees to document mileage for their family trips to Hawaii or Hong Kong. But this compulsion to tally up miles and calculate carbon footprints can be a slippery slope. Could it lead to restrictions on personal travel? I have it on good authority that Scott McNall lives 12-14 miles from campus and does not bike to work... See also: http://www.claremontconservative.com/2009/11/travel-to-and-from-school-next-thing-to.html

Accused Professor Reinstated

Ashley Thorne

Thomas Thibeault, a professor of English at East Georgia College, was escorted from campus by police and suspended from teaching two days after he criticized the school's sexual harassment policy for lack of protection for the falsely accused. It appears that after voicing his concerns about the policy, he himself was falsely accused of sexual harassment. FIRE took on the case and now reports that East Georgia College has reinstated Thibeault after finding no evidence of sexual harassment. FIRE says that the case is "far from over," as EGC president John B. Black has engaged in new abuses of freedom. Greg Lukianoff said in a press release:

President Black has added to his blatant abuses of power by reprimanding Professor Thibeault for his speech, but never bothering to mention precisely what his offense was. Black has already retaliated against Thibeault by informing him that his contract would not be renewed after the spring semester. The bullying tactics at this college are breathtaking.

FIRE has enabled readers to take action and write to President Black and the Board of Regents by completing this form. NAS will be watching this case. SEE ALSO: NAS's statement on Sexual Harassment and Academic Freedom

The Academic Left Has Its Own "The Other"

Peter Wood

Peter Wood's piece on the speech by Macalester College president Brian Rosenberg elucidates an interesting point. The academic left loves to talk about how most of America has a backward, irrational aversion to "The Other" -- people who are "different." That's mostly hogwash, but it's evident that people like Rosenberg have their own backward and irrational aversion. For them, "The Other" consists of people who don't share their faith in the ability of the government to solve all our socio-economic problems. Just as we non-leftists are assumed to wish to keep our distance from "different" people, academic leftists do keep their distance from what they regard as an ignorant, malevolent mob of town hall shouters who reject the plans of their intellectual betters to make the country more just. Rosenberg says he's for openness, but he'd much rather keep those unpleasant people and their foolish opinions away.

A College President's False Face

Peter Wood

Macalester College president Brian Rosenberg models the new face of political correctness in his convocation speech “What Am I Doing Here?” Peter Wood takes a close look at the speech in "'Collective Certainty' at Work," at NAS.org. He finds that not only does the president's false "openness to views that are different from one’s own" disserve Macalester, it also provides a glimpse into the spirit of campus political correctness:

It seems to us that President Rosenberg’s speech has value beyond Macalester College as an unusually vivid display of the arrogance and hypocrisy of the academic left in full flood. He knows the right things to say, and he says them. And then he reassures his audience that they really don’t matter. Diffidence about expressing political views, considerate attention to disfavored ideas, and wariness toward the tyranny of the majority are all nice—but we needn’t let them get in the way of our main agenda.

"Collective Certainty" at Work

Peter Wood

Macalester College president Brian Rosenberg models the new face of political correctness.

Why are College Presidents in Love with "Sustainability"?

Ashley Thorne

Peter Wood's article, "Never Waste a Good Cliché," ponders the reasons college presidents sign their institutions up for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in their eagerness to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. He imagines 4 possibilities:

A. They aren’t very deep thinkers. They just like the sound of “sustainability,” and enjoy being in front of a popular cause. B. They are cynics. They see where the movement is headed but calculate that it is to their advantage to play along. C. They are true believers. They know sustainability aims at radical, even utopian transformation of human society and they are all for it. D. They are gamblers. They understand the sustainability movement has an extremist element, but they see themselves as capable of drawing what is good from it without getting trapped in its craziness.

Peter cites a letter by the president of Hamilton College, whose rhetoric is so blandly superficial, she seems to go in category A.

Never Waste a Good Cliche

Peter Wood

The sustainability ethic of a college president.

A First Look at Second Nature

Ashley Thorne

Will education for sustainabiity become Second Nature?

Unfit

Peter Wood

Why "sustainability" is not the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

1% for Propaganda

Ashley Thorne

College presidents ask the Senate to help support sustainability education.

Disruption: Advising the Next President

Peter Wood

Experts predict global trends of the future and academics give advice to the future U.S. president, but what will become of higher education?