• February 22, 2024

The Battle for Higher Education

 The Battle for Higher Education

This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire

By Bruce Abramson

Real Clear Wire

Higher education is making news these days.  In Congressional testimony, the Presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn couldn’t tell whether calling for the genocide of the Jews constituted harassment without knowing the context.  The effects of their testimony reverberate.

Days later, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a lengthy report condemning “Political Interference and Academic Freedom in Florida’s Public Higher Education System.”  Prominently featured was a detailed complaint about New College of Florida, where I serve as admissions director.

These seemingly unrelated events are but two parts of a single story.  The Ivy League and the AAUP, as representatives of today’s academic leadership, are pleased and proud of the institutions they’ve built.  Florida’s public education system has taken the lead in promoting institutional reform—with New College as the poster child.

Needless to say, incumbent leadership doesn’t welcome any reforms at their cozy institutions.  They perceive our reforms as threats to American higher education as we know it.  Their perception is correct.  Their problem, however, is that academia as we know it bears little resemblance to academia as most Americans believe it to be.

The incumbents have spread a gloriously self-serving myth system.  In their telling, their institutions are bastions of liberal values, civil discourse, and the free exchange of ideas.  They’re open to the finest representatives of every community, perspective, and viewpoint.  They’re engaged in educating a new generation in the fine art of critical thinking.

The truth, however, is almost the polar opposite of that myth.  America’s universities are country clubs for insiders who have dispensed with independent thought as the price of belonging.  Under the seemingly high-minded ideal of “faculty governance,” faculty make all important decisions: Hiring, firing, promotion, tenure, curriculum design, publication in prestigious journals, the appropriate paths for research, and the flow of research funding.

Does faculty governance work?  The AAUP, which represents faculty members from across the country, is clear: America’s professors are highly impressed with the performance of America’s professors.  Most of the complaints in the AAUP report hinge on the usurpation by outsiders of decisions that “belong” to the faculty.

In reality, faculty governance enshrines

Source: The Gateway Pundit

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