Dicta

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

California Says Goodbye to "Hxrstory," For Now

NAS

The California State Board of Education orders the state's proposed "Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum" be redesigned. The news is a small victory for sanity. 

Ambient Rage

Peter Wood

A review of Howard S. Schwartz's Political Correctness and the Destruction of the Social Order: Chronicling the Rise of the Pristine Self.

The Misappropriation of Madison and Montpelier

William H. Young

William Young discusses the ideologically revised exhibits at James Madison's homestead.

Western Civilization's Ticking Clock

Ashley Thorne

A new documentary, The Fight for Our Lives, details the ideological war against the West. 

Honoring Academic Courage: An Evening with Amy Wax

NAS

Join NAS on Thursday, April 12, 2018 when we honor Professor Amy Wax for her academic courage. 

Professor Amy Wax in the News

NAS

NAS Board Member Amy Wax's 2017 op-ed is still making waves in 2018.

Academia is Overdue for a Reality Check

Emina Melonic

Emina Melonic writes at American Greatness about academic ideologues and the desire to deny reality and truth.

Classroom Diversity and Its Mentality of Taboo

Charles Geshekter

NAS member Charles Geshekter writes about the dogma of diversity in higher education.

Take a Knee to PC

David Randall

Take a knee for political correctness, not our national anthem. 

What Damore's Memo Taught Google

Peter Wood

The recent attempts to include more women and racial minorities in STEM fields could have drawbacks. 

Penn Dean to Law Prof: We Favor Free Speech, but Not Yours

Peter Wood

Amy Wax comes under fire for defending the traditional bourgeois values of family, civic-mindedness, hard work, and respect for authority. 

Protect Us from the Protectors

Carol Iannone

Carol Iannone comments on the relationship between the rise of helicopter parenting and the surge of political correctness hysteria on campuses.

A Politically Correct Revolution

William H. Young

William Young doesn't recognize the portrayal of the American Revolution at a new museum in Philadelphia

Radicalism’s Yield: Politics and the Illiberal Academy

Mark Zunac

In the Winter 2016 Academic Questions (vol. 29, no. 4), Mark Zunac discusses the evolution of liberal arts from a field encouraging inquiry to today's ideological sounding board.

#PCSubtitle: Charles Dickens

NAS

What politically correct subtitles can you compose for Charles Dickens' novels? 

Update the Classics: Add a PC Subtitle

NAS

What progressive lessons can you find hidden in old books? NAS's new satirical contest invites you to add #PCSubtitles to classic texts. 

Academic Freedom Absolutism at the University of Chicago

Spencer Kashmanian

The University of Chicago's "no safe spaces" letter lacks the philosophical grounding for the academic freedom it champions. 

A Most Curious Document

John E. Staddon

John E. Staddon analyzes the shortcomings of the Report of the Duke University Task Force on Bias and Hate Issues.

Rachelle Peterson Discusses Transgender Restrooms on American Family Radio

NAS

Rachelle Peterson defends Gail Heriot's testimony on the Department of Education's overreach in mandating transgender restrooms. 

Microaggressions and the “Pristine Self”

Howard S. Schwartz

A new definition of political correctness has emerged recently.

Sociology: Another Field that Needs Heterodoxy

George Leef

University of Central Florida Sociology Professor James Wright writes that sociology has also succumbed to groupthink and political correctness.

American Association of University Professors Abandons Educators Under Siege

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood writes about how defenders of academic freedom leave campus lynch mob victims to fend for themselves.

The Self-Defeating Claim that Women and Minorities are Weak and Fragile

George W. Dent

The desire for "safe spaces" is an affirmation of weakness that is false and pernicious.

On Beach Books

Bruce Gans

Bruce Gans writes on what summer reading for incoming freshmen should be.

Obama Takes a Surprising Stand

Ashley Thorne

President Obama criticizes universities that "coddle" students from opposing views.

NAS on the Radio

NAS

NAS president Peter Wood appeared on two radio programs this week to discuss campus trends in political correctness.

Bias-Free Language Obscures the Real Issue: Character

A University of New Hamphsire guide to "bias-free language" is more concerned with words than with what really matters.

Marquette's Reputation at Stake

Peter Wood

The Jesuit university in Milwaukee rebuked a professor for blogging about what another instructor said to a student about discussing homosexuality in class. 

The Cheap Moral Indignation of Bowdoin College

Michael Toscano

A highly ranked elite liberal arts college chastises students for dressing up as American Indians at Thanksgiving, while at the same time encouraging rampant immorality as part of campus culture.

Academic Freedom in a Time of Silencing

Ashley Thorne

Today academic freedom is an embattled principle as campus guardians of political correctness wield the power to hush discussion of subjects they don't like. 

Libertarians vs. Progressives: The New Campus Divide

Peter Wood

There is a dramatic divide on campus between students caught up in campus "hook-up culture" and feminist crusaders against "rape culture."

Trigger Warning Contest Winners

NAS

NAS announces the three winners of our contest on trigger warnings for classic books. 

Last Day of Trigger Warning Contest

NAS

Today is the last chance to participate in NAS's contest for the best trigger warnings for classic books. Get your submissions in by midnight!

Prager U: What Every Graduate Should Know

Jason Fertig

Dennis Prager offers five key ideas that every college graduate should understand.

Trigger Warning Contest

NAS

NAS is seeking submissions to its trigger warning contest. The top 3 will each receive a copy of NAS president Peter Wood's book, A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now.

Triggers, Metaphoric and Real

Ashley Thorne

The killings in and around UCSB brought gruesome realism to the buzzword "trigger warnings."

Prager U: War on Boys

Jason Fertig

Many boys don't need Ritalin. They need recess. 

Dartmouth’s Freedom Budget: Peaceful Protest, or Intolerant Tolerance?

Marilee Turscak

Dartmouth president Philip Hanlon hopes to tame the tempers of Freedom Budget activists, but it remains to be seen whether he can truly transform the college.

Brandeis Ought to Be Ashamed

George Leef

In its failure to engage a pluralism of views, Brandeis has reinforced a bad trend in American education.

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.

A Tale of Two Diversity Administrators

Glenn Ricketts

What they do on their own time matters sometimes, but not others.  It's all about diversity.

Political Correctness Takes Over at Macalester

George Leef

Five decades after attending, an alumnus visits and is amazed to find his alma mater transformed by politicization.

Not So Immortal: The Compromised Life of Common Reading Programs

Peter Wood

Peter Wood on what common reading assignments say about the intellectual life of colleges.

"Hate Facts"—When the Truth is Intolerable

George Leef

In academia, some truths must not be spoken because doing so could offend some "protected" group.

The Campaign to Discredit Regnerus and the Assault on Peer Review

Peter Wood

The Mark Regnerus case is a stellar illustration of the "political vortex that surrounds academic peer review."

Another Campus Bursts into Flames Over Politically Incorrect Remark

George Leef

George Leef on the latest frenzy over political incorrectness at the University of Virginia.

What's Wrong with English?

Glenn Ricketts

Mark Bauerlein thinks there isn't really anything left that resembles an academic discipline. No wonder there are fewer majors.

Mansfield Cites Bowdoin Report

Tessa Carter

Harvey Mansfield analyzes the implications of What Does Bowdoin Teach? in his article “The Higher Education Scandal.”

Shut Up for Gay Rights, Says Dean of Students

Ashley Thorne

Today colleges around the country are encouraging the national Day of Silence to support LGBT rights. 

Scholar in Conservative Thought Appointed at CU Boulder - Wise or Wrong?

Ashley Thorne

Does filling a named position in conservative thought and policy prove that the University of Colorado at Boulder is intellectually open-minded?

The Long PC Battle in Anthropology

Peter Wood

Ideological extremism roars out against Napoleon Chagnon, author of Noble Savages.

Playing Games with Racism at Oberlin

Peter Wood

After a girl wrapped in a blanket on the Oberlin College campus was mistakenly perceived as wearing a KKK hood, the college cancelled classes and went into hysteria over "hate."

 

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.

Social Justice and the Academy

William H. Young

William Young discusses the growth of "social justice" curricula in the American academy.

Censorship and Other Troubles at Counselors for Social Justice

Robert C. Hunsaker

Robert Hunsaker finds that social justice counseling means that a certain political orientation is required.

Conservative Undergraduates at Liberal Colleges, Cont'd

Glenn Ricketts

A self-described conservative student's experience at her very liberal undergraduate institution.

Stravinsky and Hip-hop Culture

Daniel Asia

In today's culture of non-judgmentalism, can we still distinguish between Stravinsky's ballets and local DJs' synthesized beats?

Political Correctness and the Bathroom

Daniel Asia

How far have we progressed into political correctness?

The Wacky World of Victim Studies

Peter Wood

Bruce Bawer's new book, The Victims' Revolution is an indispensable guide to the "identity studies" side of contemporary scholarship and academic programs.

My Review of Bawer's The Victim's Revolution

George Leef

Bawer has written a terrific exposé of the pseudo-academic fad of "identity studies" courses and programs.

Naomi and Me

Peter Wood

Peter Wood responds to Naomi Schaefer Riley's article in the New York Post which suggests that Dr. Wood has been silenced for dissenting from politically correct orthodoxy.

Ideological Litmus Test at University of Wisconsin

Mary Grabar

A job posting for a lecturer in World History requires that the applicant describe his commitment to addressing "issues of historic marginalization."

The Trap of Minority Studies Programs

John M. Ellis

CAS President John Ellis discusses the academic weakness and heavy ideological freight in most minority studies programs.

Riley's Arrow

Peter Wood

Naomi Riley's opinion about the value of Black Studies aroused fury because it fell within the category of unspeakable observations in higher education, writes Peter Wood.

Stopping the Rot

Victor Stepien

Australia's leading intellectual journal published this review of the anthology The Politically Correct University, which includes chapters by NAS leaders Peter Wood and Steve Balch.

The Decline of Literate Thought

David Solway

Recalling an evening in Casablanca where he met students "in love with learning," David Solway considers the contrast between them and today's American college students who have little enthusiasm for intellectual growth.

Orwellian Brooklyn College Seminar Calls Conservatives Reactionary

Mitchell Langbert

Brooklyn College continues to suppress conservatives in word and deed.

Law Schools Under Critical Scrutiny

Glenn Ricketts

Ideology has pervaded law schools to the detriment of student preparation for practice.  Are law degrees therefore still necessary?

Oz Revisited

Peter Wood

A new book by the author of Wicked channels the contemporary academic unrelenting focus on race, gender, class, colonialism, and sustainability.

Why Academic Gobbledygook Makes Sense

Robert Weissberg

Academic prose is famously turgid and obscure, but political scientist Robert Weissberg can see where it comes in handy in a feverishly PC academic climate like the present one.

Harvard Prof Loses Summer Session Courses Because of "Offensive" Op Ed

Glenn Ricketts

We learn from this IHE piece that Harvard economist Subramanian Swamy was apparently pretty distressed by last summer's hotel bombing in Mumbai, India by Muslim extremists. Swamy gave full vent to his feelings in a lengthy op ed piece there, arguing that Muslim terrorists were his native land's most pressing security problem. Shortly thereafter, he was in big trouble at Harvard where a group of Muslim students took offense and demanded that the university terminate his employment immediately. That didn't happen, but his faculty colleagues did an end-around by removing Swamy from the two courses he was slated to teach in the summer session for 2012. So: he hasn't been sacked, but he can't teach at Harvard either. His views, as one administrator termed them, are "destructive." I'll certainly grant you that they're controversial, but also well within the limits of controversy that an academic institution ought to be able to tolerate. It's good to see that many commenters in the response thread agree.

How Widespread is Student Indoctrination?

Jason Fertig

In an age where business students care more about watching MTV than debating economic theory, Jason Fertig encourages us that free thinking students really do exist.

What Do They Teach You At Law School? Not How to Be a Lawyer

Glenn Ricketts

The substance of a legal education, especially at top-tier law schools is worse than bad, it's pretty awful. You'll apparently read lots of high theology about critical legal theory, feminist theory, Marxist theory, etc., etc. But it seems that if you want property, contracts or torts you'll have moonlight after you get your very expensive law degree. Law school sure isn't going to do it for you.

Politically Correct Solutions Won’t Solve the Political Correctness Problem

Ashley Thorne

In the quest for preserving intellectual diversity the method counts as much as the message. Ashley Thorne responds to Ted Gup's proposed means to protect conservative thought on liberal campuses.

Baked Goods

Peter Wood

Peter Wood notes what a daunting task challenging "diversity" on campus can be these days, especially if you're selling cupcakes to make your point.

Evan Maloney: How Colleges Try to Indoctrinate U

Andy Nash

The maker of the documentary Indoctrinate U offers a window into the double standards of the politically correct campus.

Video: The Politically Correct University

Andy Nash

Richard Redding joins Andy Nash for a discussion of the ideological imbalance among university faculty members.

Postmodern Philodoxers and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young examines the replacement of philosophy's pursuit of truth with philodoxy's denial of it.

Do College Administrators Misappropriate "Diversity"?

Peter Wood

A Johns Hopkins professor lays the entire blame for the rise of political correctness on power-driven campus administrators. But haven't faculty members played their part?

More "Food For Thought" From Sociology (If Youre On A Starvation Diet)

John Rosenberg

Race relations among students are better outside the classroom, where political correctness keeps them from speaking honestly.

Good Intentions and Creeping Censorship

Glenn Ricketts

In this piece over at Minding the Campus, attorney David French discusses the impact of recent judicial decsions on college campus civil liberties. It's not looking good for evangelical Christian organizations - such as those at San Diego State University - who seem to have run afoul of the "good intentions" of senior administrators. 

Ammons Retaliates Against Exonerated Law Professor

Ashley Thorne

Widener University law school dean has professor Lawrence Connell suspended and banned from campus - after a hearing committee exonerated him from charges of sexual and racial discrimination.

Yale to Reinstate Study of Antisemitism

Glenn Ricketts

Recently, my colleague Ashley Thorne reported here on Yale University's abrupt decision to terminate a program devoted to the study of antisemitism. The program was the only one of its kind in the United States and seemed to be flourishing. So why was it terminated? Apparently because a recent conference had included an examination of antisemitism within parts of the comtemporary Islamic world. This prompted a letter from Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO's representative in the US, to Yale president Richard Levin, protesting the university's abettment of "anti-Arab extremism and hate mongering." A short time later, the program was toast.

But word comes today at Inside Higher Education that Yale has reconsidered. A new institute for the study of antisemitism is in the works. You can also read about it here at the CHE.

That's good news, and I'm glad that Yale and president Levin have had a change of heart. I also wish, though, that they hadn't caved in the first place.

Should Mandatory "Civic Engagement" Be Part of the College Mission?

George Leef

In today's Pope Center piece, Tulane University sociology professor Carl Bankston argues that colleges should not mandate "civic engagement" of their students. Doing so is inconsistent with a liberal education and it tends to promote doctrinaire thinking, Bankston contends.  

Facebook Gets Multicultural About China and Censorship

Jonathan Bean

In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal quotes Mark Zuckerberg, the kid from Harvard who heads the CEO of a company-not-yet-public. (Goldman-Sachs VIP insiders only, please). What disturbed me about the article is not that another company is breaking into the so-called China market after the Google row over censorship. I'm more disturbed by the mealy-mouth rationalization of Zuckerberg, who seems to have breathed in the multicultural fumes of higher education.

Florida State Brouhaha Is Much Ado About Nothing

George Leef

So argues Duke professor Michael Munger here. The hard left needs to keep up a stream of pseudo-issues to keep its base whipped up. When the FSU/Koch Foundation flap stops working, they'll replace it with something else that's just as ridiculous.

Suppression for Thee, Free Speech for Me

Mitchell Langbert

I sent this letter to the editor of the faculty newspaper of the City University of New York, The Clarion.

A "Gentlemen's Agreement" at Yale?

Ashley Thorne

Questions arise about Yale's decision to close an interdisciplinary program on anti-Semitism.

When Professors Are Not Civil

George Leef

In today's Pope Center piece, Jay Schalin writes about two recent incidents where leftist professors publicly rebuked students for offering opinions with which they disagreed.

Radio: Peter Wood on WGN 720 on Sustainability

Peter Wood discusses the harmful effect sustainability ideology has on higher education.

Totems in America

Peter Wood

Peter Wood defends the CUNY trustee who opposed an honorary degree for playwright Tony Kushner.

CUNY Overlooks Ideological Discrimination

Mitchell Langbert

The City of University of New York is conducting a survey concerning discrimination with respect to protected classes under the Civil Rights Act and sexual orientation.

Peter Wood: Kushner a "PC Trifecta"

Ashley Thorne

In the Chronicle's blog Innovations, NAS president Peter Wood weighs in on the controversy over the CUNY board's decision not to award Tony Kushner an honorary degree. Kushner has received 15 other such degrees.

CUNY Faculty Union on Kushner: "What, Me Worry?"

Mitchell Langbert

A controversy is raging concerning CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld's objections to John Jay College's proposal to grant an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner.

“O(h no) Canada!” MTV Signature Song Banned

Jonathan Bean

When I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, the stereotypical bowdlerizers of speech--the people excising "offensive" lyrics and literature--were the uptight blue-nosed sort who feared that "someone, somewhere, was having fun." (H.L. Mencken).

Need a Laugh?

George Leef

You probably do, so give this wonderful satire on college students and professors on The Onion a click.

On the "White Privilege" Conference

George Leef

Carol Iannone has a terrific blog post on this at Phi Beta Cons.

"Accepted Student Day"

George Leef

In an excellent Wall Street Journal piece, Andrew Ferguson, author of Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College writes about his visit to one of the schools where his son was accepted. It's a warts-and-all portrait of college life, heavy on the amenities and light on the academics. What little attention was given to academics is troubling: "The professor boasted of his history course, which had transformed merely curious students into 'social activists.' Under his guidance the young scholars read books by Sally Belfrage, author of the Cold War memoir 'UnAmerican Activities' and the socialist historian Howard Zinn, author of 'A People's History of the United States,' and they emerged 'ready to change the world.' So we have that to look forward to. "The professor's speech was just a hint of what was to come: Later my son told me that he had three choices for a mandatory writing class: 'History of the 1960s,' 'TV's Mad men,' and 'Intro to Queer Theory.'" I hope young Mr. Ferguson already knows how to write.

Would a University Allow Retribution Against Students?

George Leef

I don't know if the allegations in this piece are true, but if they are, it's a stunning example of the viciousness of the left toward those who challenge their favored politicians. A professor who ran against an incumbent Democrat in Oregon last year states that OSU is taking retribution against his children, who have excellent academic records. This calls for a serious investigation.

Women's Studies...Men's Studies...Male Studies

George Leef

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call Wendy McElroy takes a look at this progression on college campuses. First, Women's Studies programs emerged, followed by a sympathetic offshoot, "Men's Studies." Now there's a movement to create Male Studies. What is it all about? Advancing scholarship into new fields of knowledge? Or is this simply the balkanization of the curriculum, creating niche courses to keep a few professors happy?

Freshman Profile: Already Liberal

Glenn Ricketts

The current CHE features some survey data about the attitudes of last Fall's incoming college freshman class. In the first place, they think that they're pretty smart.

Political Correctness Being Replaced by Vapid "Scholasticism"

Ashley Thorne

In an article on Minding the Campus, Mary Grabar cites a recent article from NAS's journal Academic Questions, "The Other Danger...Scholasticism in Academic Research." 

Huckleberry Finn and Cultural Senstitivity

Glenn Ricketts

You may have read about the latest attempt to make a classic work acceptable to contemporary PC sensibilities, in this case a new edition of Huckleberry Finn from which racial epithets - certainly authentic to the novel's social and historical setting - have been removed. It doesn't stop there, either.

Obama's 'Extremist, Agenda-Driven, Revisionist' NEH

Candace de Russy

In a series of posts Power Line Blog has been exposing the lurch of the National Endowment for the Humanities under Obama's appointee, Humanities Chairman Jim Leach, toward "political partisanship and rank buffoonery." In the latest of these posts Professor Penelope Blake describes, for example, an egregiously politicized and anti-American conference on the "Legacies of the Pacific War in WWII." Professor Blake rightly urges that Congress not approve the NEH's multi-million-dollar budget for 2011 until the agency eliminates its political agenda, supports objective scholarship, and offers forums which ensure diversity of opinion.

Good Read

Mary Grabar

I'd like to share with you my post at American Culture on Christopher Hill's novel. I'm sorry to say I didn't know about  this novel until I visited the Alexander Hamilton Institute last summer.  Fortunately, I was driving, so I could load up my trunk with books from the bookstore.  Hill's novel was one of the gems.

Thoughts on Campus Bottled Water Bans

Ashley Thorne

Scott Carlson, a blog author for the Chronicle of Higher Education, has a dogmatic article on college bottled-water bans. Here's the comment I posted on it:

I wrote about the anti-bottled water movement a couple years ago here. It's amazing to me that universities are taking away students' rights to purchase something (very healthy and wholesome) that they are willing to purchase. Yes, tap water is free, and wherever it is clean enough to drink it's a good idea to take advantage of that and save money. But if people want to pay for water, they shouldn't be banned from doing so. The anti-bottled water movement is part of sustainability's "change daily habits" strategy. Sustainability advocates seek to change our attitudes, values, and behavior, so they enact policies that train people to make small, daily adjustments by increments, until we've made it the basis for our moral compass. The campus "trayless dining" movement is also part of this strategy.

This recent race to ban bottled water strikes me as inimical to freedom. It could also turn out to be one of those bans that make the embargoed item even more alluring. There may soon be black market bottled water sales in dark corners of college campuses. Be on the watch for guilty-looking students hiding Evians in their backpacks until they can sneak sips back in their dorm rooms.

PC Zombie

David Clemens

Former student “Lamar” transferred to a University of California campus this semester and was surprised to find himself ordered to attend two mandatory “workshops,” one on alcohol abuse and the other on sexual assault.  “Lamar,” an adult in his 30s, Iraq War veteran, and parent, bridled at the paternalism/maternalism.  “State law,” explained the school, referring him to AB 1088 (a compilation of cooked data, murky definitions, and propaganda which does not mandate "workshops").

What next?” asked “Lamar.”  “An anti-tobacco workshop, a recycling workshop, an obesity workshop, a vegetarianism workshop?  Already PETA made the college dining halls start a `Meatless Monday.’”

It may come to that.  One neighboring community college just took an institutional position condemning the immigration law in another state.  Apparently, embedding the progressive agenda in textbooks and curriculum is not enough in our postmodern world.  Walter Truett Anderson says, “In education, postmodernism rejects the notion that the purpose of education is primarily to train a child’s cognitive capacity for reason . . . .  [Instead, postmodern education] is to take an essentially indeterminate being and give it a social identity.”  Mandatory workshops, it seems, are intended to bring that “indeterminate being” into conformance with “the campus culture” and “principles of community.”  The sign on this clubhouse reads “No Unprogressives Allowed.” Just yesterday, “Jennifer” came to me desperate to get out of her Women’s History class.  “I admit, I thought it would be an easy A,” she said, “but I also wanted to learn about the Enlightenment, and all I heard was how the Enlightenment  oppressed women.  Help!” Sorry, “Lamar” and “Jennifer;” you might have thought it died with the millennium but the baleful Political Correctness Zombie still stalks the halls of academe.

A Call for Open-Mindedness or a Culture War Maneuver?

Peter Wood

The AAC&U's new report, "Engaging Diverse Viewpoints," styles itself as an appeal for intellectual diversity but is full of politically correct buzzwords.

Professor Paquette Responds

Ashley Thorne

In April, Hamilton College American history professor Robert Paquette published an NAS article describing how the campus left insulates itself and bullies dissenters. As evidence, he cited the case of his former colleague Chris Hill, a libertarian teacher/scholar who was eliminated early from consideration for a tenure-track position. A few weeks later, Hamilton's Dean of the Faculty Joseph Urgo wrote Paquette a letter reprimanding him, demanding that the article be removed from the NAS website, and denying Paquette the right to serve on faculty search committees. National media took notice of the controversy this summer. Mark Bauerlein has a multi-part series at The Chronicle on questions surrounding the incident, and Scott Jaschik published "When Faculty Aren't Supposed to Talk" at Inside Higher Ed. Yesterday Professor Robert Paquette responded to the controversy in a new article, "Dictatorships and Double Standards, Part II." He gives his side of what happened, sets a few things straight, and provides evidence of further double standards at Hamilton. His story is well worth reading.

Ladies First? Here Comes the OCR

Glenn Ricketts

Gender equity full timers are at it again - you didn't really think, did you, that they'd run out of things to complain about? The earth-shaking injustice in their minds this time centers on college basketball: whenever double-headers featuring both men's and women's basketball teams are scheduled, the ladies usually play first, followed by the men's squad. Is that a big deal? Evidently the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights thinks so. On the basis of an anonymous complaint it received last March, OCR is now hard at work investigating several collegiate basketball conferences to determine whether, as the complainant alleges, such "sexist" scheduling demeans women's basketball. Inside Higher Education has the details here. But when you've read that, be sure to check out this recent piece by the always-lucid Christina Sommers. Feminist sports advocates, she notes, are in a big lather over the fact that men's sporting events typically draw much larger TV and live audiences than women's do. In this case, though, they aren't dealing with clandestine federal bureacrats or easily cowed college administrators, but with the actual public sports market where fans can freely adjust their TV channels or decide which games they want to attend. On that basis, female basketball teams may well see most of the crowd head for the exits if OCR decides to coerce college sports schedule makers into having the guys play first. I'm all for women playing basketball, needless to say, but if feminists win here, female athletes will likely lose.

Esposito Gets 'Zero' for See-No-Evil Defense of Ground Zero Mosque

Candace de Russy

Stephen Schwartz demolishes the claim by Georgetown Professor John L. Esposito that criticism of the mosque project amounts to "Islam-bashing charges leveled with no concrete evidence by pundits and politicians." Esposito, professor of religion and international affairs and director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, is the nation's leading apologist for Saudi Wahhabism, the Turkish fundamentalist Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Islamist ideologies in general. "To many," writes Schwartz, he personifies all that's wrong with Middle East studies in America today" -- notably, a gross and systematic denial of inconvenient facts. The same can be said of his blinkered championing of the proposed mosque.

Three Law School Articles

Ashley Thorne

Of interest to law professors, lawyers, and curious individuals, NAS has recently published three articles about law schools: “Conferring Privilege: DOJ, Law Schools, and the New Politics of Race” examines the Association of American Law Schools’ efforts to prevent racial colorblindness. “’They So Despise Her Politics’ - Do Conservative Faculty Candidates Get a Fair Shake?” presents documents in the lawsuit of an unsuccessful faculty candidate for a position at the University of Iowa College of Law who believes she was denied the appointment because of her politics. "Potemkin Admissions: Law Professors Propose to Hide LSAT Data" exposes a movement to persuade law schools to withhold LSAT scores from U.S. News and World Report. The idea is to make it harder for the public to see how much the pursuit of racial preferences drags down the quality of admissions. "They So Despise Her Politics" has received attention from the Daily Iowan, Instapundit, TaxProf Blog, and One Minute Lawyer.

Unrequired Reading

David Clemens

Education needs a manifesto for a new humanism; sadly, Martha Nussbaum’s new book is not that manifesto.  I had high hopes for Not for Profit but Dr. Nussbaum’s argument quickly becomes a tangle of faulty logic and ideology and notably stale seventies feminism.  Why is she still pumping the wells of female victimization (while referencing the female president of Harvard) and the plight of African American children who lack role models (while noting the African American President of the United States)?  At one point, she praises Mr. Obama’s personal values as developed by the progressive education she endorses.  Then she indicts him for not supporting such education for others, raising the question of just what sort of person her recommended liberal education actually produces.  When  Nussbaum pleads for progressive schools (wherein teachers sagely guide students to discover and construct knowledge themselves), I think of Geoffrey Pyke [pictured] and his Malting House School (John Dewey meets William Golding). Although Dr. Nussbaum embraces Socratic self-examination, ideology blinds her to her own biases.  She is pedantic when attacking pedantry, and she abhors “the dead hand of authority” yet repeatedly invokes the authority of Nobel Prize credentials.  She advocates critical thinking to combat “demeaning stereotypes,” then proceeds to stereotype men, women, whites, and Southerners.  Masculinity comes off badly unless it is “maternal” which, she implies, is the true essence of human nature (making masculine behavior an aberration, less than human).  In this book, women are saintly and victimized (unless they are named Margaret Thatcher).  Nussbaum scorns the image of the self-reliant cowboy, then, on the next page, explains that every child must develop “less need to call on others.”  Decrying education that involves mere inculcation of facts (more Seventies flotsam), she later admits to the necessity for “a lot of factual knowledge.” Worse, Dr. Nussbaum extols the individual but avoids any mention of the tribalizing effects of multiculturalism and its diminution of . . . the individual.  Among several straw man arguments, she condemns “the facile equation of Islam with terrorism” without mentioning just who ever assumed that equivalence.  The values she prizes are particularly Western, giving her desire to spread them globally a whiff of cultural imperialism.  And Dr. Nussbaum recommends role-playing to develop sympathy for "the other."  I met an eyewitness from one progressive school in Northern California that did just that:  to develop sympathy for slaves on a ship, teachers locked students in a Quonset hut, chained to their desks surrounded by rotting fish. In fact, Dr. Nussbaum’s book is a call not for a new humanism but for an old political correctness.  She even warns that because artworks are so effective at creating empathy, teachers must exercise “careful selectivity” so that students do not read “defective forms of `literature’” which evoke unsocial feelings and “uneven sympathies.”  Yikes!  Goodbye Salinger, Twain, Poe, O’Conner, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka.  With friends like Dr. Nussbaum, liberal arts education doesn’t need enemies.

Political Correctness

Daniel Asia

I student of mine is applying for a job. Here is some of the verbiage on the job description page: "Strengthened by Diversity GCSU is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative-Action Institution committed to cultural, racial and multi-ethnic communities and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is expected that successful candidates share in this commitment." I note that they don't ask if the candidate is committed to quality scholarship, opposed to smoking, and being committed to rooting out obesity. How lacking in inclusivity!

Video: Saving Freedom on College Campuses

Steve Balch

Watch NAS chairman Steve Balch's remarks at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference on preserving liberty in higher education.

Baggage Claim at Williams

Ashley Thorne

Williams College will cancel classes to engage in "pomosexual" poetry performances, politicized art discussions, a "queering communities" panel, and "reclaiming New England's aboriginal history."

Gonzaga Studies Hate

Glenn Ricketts

Gonzaga University's Institute for Action Against Hate misses an opportunity to shed academic light on human hate, settling instead on politically correct answers.

Michelle Malkin on Zinn and 'Social Justice' Education

Ashley Thorne

This week in Frontpage Magazine Michelle Malkin has an article, "Hollywood and Howard Zinn's Marxist Education Project." Here's an excerpt:

Zinn’s objective is not to impart knowledge, but to instigate “change” and nurture a political “counterforce” (an echo of fellow radical academic and Hugo Chavez admirer Bill Ayers’ proclamation of education as the “motor-force of revolution”). Teachers are not supposed to teach facts in the school of Zinn. “There is no such thing as pure fact,” Zinn asserts. Educators are not supposed to emphasize individual academic achievement. They are supposed to “empower” student collectivism by emphasizing “the role of working people, women, people of color and organized social movements.” School officials are not facilitators of intellectual inquiry, but leaders of “social struggle.” Zinn and company have launched a nationwide education project in conjunction with the documentary. “A people’s history requires a people’s pedagogy to match,” Zinn preaches. The project is a collaboration between two “social justice” activist groups, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change. [...] No part of the school curriculum is immune from the social justice makeover crew. Zinn’s partners at Rethinking Schools have even issued teaching guides to “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers” — which rejects the traditional white male patriarchal methods of teaching computation and statistics in favor of p.c.-ified number-crunching [see NAS's articles on this, "Social Changelings" and "Mathematical Deceptions"]. [...] Our students will continue to come in dead last in international testing. But no worries. With Howard Zinn and Hollywood leftists in charge, empty-headed young global citizens will have heavier guilt, wider social consciences and more hatred for America than any other students in the world.

Are We Stuck with the Politically Correct University?

George Leef

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call, I review the new AEI book The Politically Correct University. I recommend the book highly. It provides an excellent analysis of the problem of ideological imbalance and politicization that besets our higher education system and the closing chapters explore the prospects for change.

Hetero Huh?

Ashley Thorne

What is 'heteronormativity' anyway?

Winter's Not So Happy Without Holidays

Ashley Thorne

From the student newspaper of the University of Massachusetts is an article by Thomas Moore (the student, not the Utopian) about the new policy for U Mass RAs: Don't call it the "holiday season"; call it the "winter season." I had a hard enough time as it is finding a card to send to extended family that actually read "Merry Christmas" on the front. Most said "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" or "Ho, Ho, Ho!" I thought things were bad enough. Now U Mass will try to erase even the concept of a holiday season in the name of political correctness. Moore encourages the RAs to disregard the policy in the name of liberty and free expression of their beliefs. Let's hope that if they do disregard it, the university does not try to discipline them.

Collegiality or Harrassment? Two Sides of the PC Coin

Mitchell Langbert

At a northeastern college the chair of a department also chaired  a tenure and promotion committee that made a negative decision on an  untenured associate professor.  The associate professor under consideration had published many books and articles, and his publication record was better than the majority of tenured faculty at the institution.  However, he had offended other of the senior faculty politically by outshining them. He was accused of  lack of collegiality. The promotion committee rejected the tenure application, and that became news.  Ultimately, the university's chancellor rescinded the committee's decision. Fast forward five years.  Another professor, this time a full professor, offends the same departmental chair.  The chair accuses the full professor of harrassing a female professor.   The accusation of harassment is not referred to a personnel or EEO office, but is raised in a public, departmental meeting without investigation or hearing.  The charges are discussed publicly.  The departmental chair demands that a vote of censure be taken against the full professor. The full professor states that he was helping the untenured female professor and discussing a course with her, and that she does not claim that she was harassed.  In other words, he was acting collegially. I deduce a simple conclusion for the politically incorrect:  if you are collegial, you will be called a harasser.  If you are a talented hard worker, you will be said to lack collegiality.

Popper on Plato, Social Justice and Political Correctness

Mitchell Langbert

I have been reading Karl Popper's Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume I and am awestruck with Popper's scholarship and its relevance to currently percolating issues such as social justice education, political correctness and climate change research.  Popper shows that Plato is at the root of totalitarianism.  Plato re-defined justice to mean the individual's existence for the good of the state; conceived of a ruling elite given politically correct indoctrination; and advocated total social control of day-to-day life.  Popper argues that Plato bases all of this on his tribalist and naturalist morality, that is, his belief that morals are rooted in nature.   Much like today's environmentalists, Plato favored a return to primitive olden times before the innovation that had occurred in Athens. Plato defined justice just as social justice educators do, namely, that the just is what is socially good.  The guardians, the ruling elite, were to receive a social justice-based education.   Plato intensely disliked Athenian democracy and the steps that Pericles and others  had made to define justice as equality before the law.  Rather, public morality would be defined by the politically correct guardian class. Morality,  moderation and justice would mean adherence to one's place and obedience to authority. Like Plato, today's environmentalists believe that the primitive is best and that human innovation is evil.  Much as the cap and trade bill attempts to assert nationally centralized authority over day-day-life, overseen by a Platonic "administrator" or philosopher king, so  Plato believed that the greatest virtues were to be obedient or to lead others.

Fear of Profiling Trumps Fear of Assault on Campus

Ashley Thorne

An anonymous reader commenting on the NAS.org article "National Security Threatened by Devotion to Diversity" recently reported:

The diversity doctrine not only harms the quality of higher education and, quite possibly, national security; it can also get in the way of campus crime prevention. The following incident illustrates just that. On Tuesday, November 10, a woman employee at my college answered a knock on her office door. Upon opening the door, she was immediately sexually assaulted. A violent struggle ensued between her and her attacker. Due to her screams, the assailant eventually fled the scene. The victim was taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries. She was able to give a competent description of the man who assaulted her. The crime, committed in broad daylight, was scary enough. However, what followed was even scarier. In the aftermath of the crime, campus police posted a sketch and a description of the suspect. The perpetrator was described as a "stocky, five-foot-five Hispanic male" who wore a white sleeveless T-shirt and black gloves. Students and employees were urged to be aware of their surroundings and to alert campus police of any suspicious individuals fitting the description. So far, so good. Then, within 24 hours of the incident, the campus police chief sent a warning via college e-mail, asking that everyone "refrain from engaging in profiling." According to the chief, the sketch had resulted in a number of calls that had "inordinately focused on race, rather than suspicious behavior." The college president also chimed in, cautioning the campus community to not "stereotype anyone on a visual basis," and a couple of well-known PC devotees on the faculty seconded the president's motion. It was truly laughable -- if it had not been so serious. Considering the possibility that descriptions of criminals by race, gender, color or ethnicity will soon be taboo -- and that estimates of a perpetrator's age, height and weight might also be viewed as politically incorrect -- I can easily envision the PC version of the crime that recently happened on my campus. It would sound something like this: "The victim was a person employed by the college. He/she described his/her attacker as another person. In an effort to avoid profiling, a sketch of the assailant will not be made public. What we can tell you is that the person wore a white sleeveless T-shirt and black gloves. However, we caution against any visual stereotyping, particularly of persons wearing white T-shirts and black gloves. We also urge everyone to focus on suspicious behavior, not on the person him/herself." Unfortunately, Army Chief of Staff George Casey does not have to worry about diversity becoming "a casualty." It looks like it is here to stay.

Fish Tales: Teaching Stanley How to Read

Peter Wood

Stanley Fish misrepresents Peter Wood on "intellectual diversity."

Ed Schools Failing Math

Ken Daniszewski

Sandra Stotsky has an excellent article in City Journal discussing how our education schools are failing to deliver on math education - because they have become over committed to some progressive ideas about math education which really don't work as well as traditional teacher-directed approaches. She notes that:

The heart of the disagreement between progressive math educators and mathematicians is whether students are acquiring a foundation in arithmetic and other aspects of mathematics in the early grades that prepares them for authentic algebra coursework in grades 7, 8, and 9. If not, they then cannot successfully complete the advanced math courses in high school that will prepare them adequately for freshman college courses using mathematics.

In reading a bit about this subject, in seems that although there are many sincere and intelligent people on both sides of the debate, in the end it comes down to building curricula based on the best evidence of what works. As Stotsky suggests, a part of the problem with our ed schools is that they tend to produce only research which supports the researchers' own preconceptions. One supposes that part of the reason for this is that doing large-scale scientific studies has become so expensive. Nonetheless, if our ed schools wish to remain at all relevant they need to begin to hold themselves to higher evidentiary standards.

Political Correctness Versus Academic Freedom

George Leef

Economics professor Walter Block doesn't accept the politically correct feminist doctrine that the average earnings differential between men and women is due to employment discrimination and for that he has been pilloried as a "racist" and "sexist" by the administration at Loyola of New Orleans. Then, when he tries to clear his name and defend his position, the administration clams up. Read about it here. Academic liberals used to boast that they spoke "truth to power." Now that they're in power, they turn out to be a bunch of intolerant authoritarians.

A Call to Persevere

Don Racheter

As we face more and more threats to free speech and academic freedom from the emboldened left fringe, it is vital that we maintain organizations like the National Association of Scholars, our state affiliates, FIRE, and ACTA to be there for us when we need help.  Paying dues in these difficult economic times may be something we consider cutting out, but it would prove to be a false economy if we were to personally face a crisis in our professional placement.

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.

PC U

Peter Wood

We are proud to announce the arrival of a new book, The Politically Correct University, published by the American Enterprise Institute, which features chapters by NAS's president Peter Wood and chairman Steve Balch. Dr. Wood’s chapter, “College Conformity 101: Where the Diversity of Ideas Meets the Idea of Diversity,” teases out the two contrasting meanings of the mysterious word “diversity,” and Dr. Balch's chapter, “The Route to Academic Pluralism,” sets out some practical tactics for reforming higher education. Other authors in The Politically Correct University are friends and partners of NAS, such as Victor Davis Hanson, Anne Neal, and Stanley Rothman. The Politically Correct University is available for purchase here.

Diversity's Doom & Pluralism's Plans

Ashley Thorne

A new book, The Politically Correct University, features chapters by NAS's president Peter Wood and NAS chairman Steve Balch.

Inadequate and Superfluous

Ashley Thorne

A Princeton professor feels too white to talk about diversity.

The Great Liberal Narrative...No Comment

Ashley Thorne

Video: How political correctness began in the Franfurt School and how the media nurtures it today.

What's Critical about Critical Globalization Studies?

Peter Wood

This year a UC Santa Barbara professor sent an email to his class, comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis. But where did this professor's academic field, "critical globalization studies" actually come from, and should it exist in the university in the first place?

Adopt a Mascot

Peter Wood

There are many orphaned college mascots who need a good home. Will you give them the love they need?

Mac Mods

Peter Wood

Macalester College shuts out a moderate alumni group.

"Texans Are Stupid" and Other Lessons from the Public Schools

Elena Callas

A teacher reflects on the politics she has seen in K-12 classrooms -and the playground.

Snitch Studies at Cal Poly: We Snare Because We Care

Peter Wood

The university launches a new bias incident reporting system to enforce "respect."

Shaming the Winners

Ashley Thorne

Media hype after a 100-0 basketball game between two small private schools in Dallas exemplified a cultural tendency to vilify success.

How the Dorms Are Politicized: The Case of the University of Delaware

Adam Kissel

This paper was presented by Adam Kissel at a panel at the National Association of Scholars general conference in Washington, DC, on January 11, 2009. Kissel is the director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Rescue: The New Captivity of Hans Staden

Peter Wood

A centuries-old tale of life among native cannibals can't be allowed to stand as a captivating narrative. It must be sanitized in one way or another by PC revisionists.

Social Changelings

Ashley Thorne

Little PC men are coming after the hard sciences.

Deactivated

Peter Wood

A professor at Carroll University is disappointed when she tries to teach students to be activists.

Some Social Science that Fails to Score

Steve Balch

NAS president Steve Balch finds that a new study supposedly challenging prevalent assumptions about political correctness isn't all it's hyped up to be.

Doll Sales and Moral Tales

Adrianna Groth

The American Girl dolls play their small part in the struggle for social justice--but only after having healthy, historical fun.

Coercing the Conscience: New Examples of the Reign of Intolerance in Schools of Social Work

Glenn Ricketts

We're seeing more of the scandal of social work iceberg. Two students' case have come to light, showing once again how social work programs disregard students' personal convictions.

Political Correctness in the Science Classroom

Noretta Koertge

We are pleased to be the first to publish the following essay by Noretta Koertge, Professor emeritus in History & Philosophy of Science at Indiana University. Koertge drafted this article for and presented it at a conference on

Is NAS Conservative?

Peter Wood

People for the American Way asserts that NAS is a "right-wing" organization. We take issue with this characterization and explain why. Join us outside the charmed circle.

Vietnam: Historians at War

Mark Moyar

Has reasoned study of the Vietnam War been trampled by radical adherence to the politically correct? 

Tolerance, Diversity, Respect OR ELSE "Bias Reporting Teams" at William & Mary

It seems that you had better be very very careful of what you say and to whom you say it at the College of William and Mary, where the administration has recently instituted a new "Bias Reporting Team," complete with its own web page. Among the features of this newest academic venture in promoting "tolerance," "diversity," and "respect" on campus is an Orwellian system of anonymous accusation and secret investigations, the maintenance of elaborate data bases, and an extensive administrative mechanism, in which the college president will be directly involved. Although "Bias" is very briefly and vaguely defined, there is an exhaustive elaboration of the ways in which it can be reported to the "Bias Team." Anyone uncertain as to whether an incident constitutes "bias" is strongly encouraged to inform the "team," which will then determine if it's the real thing. The "bias" web page doesn't seem to provide for instances of fraudulent, frivolous, or malicious allegations, and the rights of anyone accused aren't elaborated either. Although a small disclaimer declares, "William and Mary values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas," we aren't at all reassured.