Myriad intellectual viruses are thriving in academia. Carried by undereducated graduates, these viruses infect the nation’s civic culture.
George Will writes: In 2013, a college student assigned to research a deadly substance sought help via Twitter: “I can’t find the chemical and physical properties of sarin gas someone please help me.” An expert at a security consulting firm tried to be helpful, telling her that sarin is not gas. She replied, “yes the [expletive] it is a gas you ignorant [expletive]. sarin is a liquid & can evaporate … shut the [expletive] up.”
“College, in an earlier time, was supposed to be an uncomfortable experience because growth is always a challenge.”
— Tom Nichols, professor at the U.S. Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School
Tom Nichols, professor at the U.S. Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School, writing in The Chronicle Review, says such a “storm of outraged ego” is an increasingly common phenomenon among students who, having been taught to regard themselves as peers of their teachers, “take correction as an insult.” Nichols relates this to myriad intellectual viruses thriving in academia. Carried by undereducated graduates, these viruses infect the nation’s civic culture.
“Unearned praise and hollow successes build a fragile arrogance in students that can lead them to lash out at the first teacher or employer who dispels that illusion, a habit that carries over into a resistance to believe anything inconvenient or challenging in adulthood.”
— Tom Nichols
Soon the results include the presidential megaphone being used to amplify facially preposterous assertions, e.g., that upward of 5 million illegal votes were cast in 2016. A presidential minion thinks this assertion is justified because it is the president’s “long-standing belief.”
“College, in an earlier time,” Nichols writes, “was supposed to be an uncomfortable experience because growth is always a challenge,” replacing youthful simplicities with adult complexities. Today, college involves the “pampering of students as customers,” particularly by grade inflation in a context of declining academic rigor: A recent study showed “A” to be the most commonly awarded grade, 30 percent more frequent than in 1960.
“Rather than disabuse students of their intellectual solipsism,” Nichols says, “the modern university reinforces it.”
— Tom Nichols
And a 2011 University of Chicago study found that 45 percent of students said that in the previous semester none of their courses required more than 20 pages of writing and 32 percent had no class that required more than 40 pages of reading in a week. Read the rest of this entry »
“The vocal minority of students who actually want censorship—who want to be protected from ideas they don’t like—they’ve always existed,” says Reason associate editor Robby Soave. “But in the last five years they have gained institutional power on these campuses.”
From microaggressions and trigger warnings, to the shouting down and assault of controversial speakers, the climate on American college campuses have shifted sharply away from the classical understanding of free speech and inquiry that were once the bedrock of higher education.
Soave, who reports on political correctness and on college campuses for Reason, sat down with Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch at Reason Weekend, the annual event hosted by the Reason Foundation, to talk about the state of free speech on American colleges and universities.
Edited by Alex Manning. Camera by Paul Detrick and Todd Kranin
BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus…(read more)
Is there a point where the “P.C. Police” are satisfied? Are there ever “enough” rules governing the jokes we tell, the mascots of sports teams, or the symbols on city seals? Or should we want a society as non-offensive as the American college campus? George Will, Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, imagines what an idyllic politically correct universe would look like.
‘I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.’
David Rutz reports: President Obama condemned the rash of liberal political correctness seen recently in American colleges Monday, saying “that’s not the way we learn” and that
college students shouldn’t be “coddled and protected from different points of view.”
“Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too.”
— President Obama, speaking at a town hall in Iowa
Speaking at a town hall in Iowa about affordable college education, Obama launched into his remarks after a question about Dr. Ben Carson’s proposal to stop government funding to schools with political biases.
Obama slammed Carson’s idea, but he segued into his criticism of left-wing intolerance for opposing viewpoints that have popped up on campuses around the country.
“I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women.”
“Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree
with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too,” Obama said…
“And you know, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.”
“And you know, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.
“You know, I think you should be able to—anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, ‘You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.’ That’s not the way we learn either.”
You know, I think you should be able to—anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. Read the rest of this entry »
The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme
Liyan Qi reports: As tens of thousands of Chinese students prepare to study in the U.S., they might reflect on the experience of some of those who went before them. According to an estimate by a U.S. education company, some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year alone – and the main reasons were poor grades and cheating.
“This is an issue not just about students in the U.S., but about the entire higher-education system in China.”
The estimate by WholeRen Education, a U.S. company that caters to Chinese students, was based on official U.S. data and a survey of 1,657 students expelled from American universities last year. More than 80% of these students were expelled because of poor academic performance or dishonesty, the company said.
“Chinese students used to be considered top-notch but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat.”
— Chen Hang, chief development officer at WholeRen
The company surveyed students about their U.S. study experience a year earlier but didn’t make any estimate for expulsions.
The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme.
Stacked up against the huge numbers of Chinese students who go to American universities every year, the failure rate isn’t so bad, WholeRen said, though it does suggest a change in the once-shining image of students from China. Read the rest of this entry »
Chinese Tycoon Wang Jianlin Blames ‘Western Schooling’ for Son’s Comments About Wanting a Girlfriend With Big BoobsPosted: February 25, 2015
Wang Jianlin blames Western education for his son’s controversial remark that potential girlfriends needed to be “buxom”
Wang, one of the richest men in China, used an interview on state television on Tuesday evening to publicly defend his son, whose remark caused a furore on social media and led to condemnation by a state news agency. He also said he preferred to stay away from politics and said businessmen should “refrain from bribes”.
Wang said his son, Wang Sicong , had spent years studying overseas and had got into the habit of speaking whatever was on his mind.
The younger Wang was lambasted after making the remark on Valentine’s Day, with the state-run news agency Xinhua publishing a 1,287-word commentary condemning his remarks.
His father, who runs a property and cinema empire, said he was always ready to “take a hint” from others and not “speak carelessly”, but his son was more direct and had not learnt Chinese subtlety.
“He is smart. He went overseas to study at grade one and he has a Western-style of thinking,” said Wang.
“Maybe after spending five or eight years in China, he will truly become Chinese.”
Wang Sicong, a board member of his father’s Wanda Group and the chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital, is well-known for his outspoken comments on social media.
He made his latest eyebrow-raising remark after helping to raise more than 500,000 yuan (HK$630,000) for charity by auctioning the chance for a member of the public to watch a film with him.
The senior Wang said he wanted his son to succeed in his own right in business, but would give him only two opportunities. “The third time he fails, he comes to work at Wanda,” he said.
The tycoon’s comments appeared to question Western customs and values, echoing remarks by government officials in recent months.
The provocative documentary, which hit select theaters on Friday, demonstrates in sad detail how American college students and their families are struggling to cope with tuition prices that have skyrocketed 1,120 percent in “absolute dollars” since 1978.
Rossi observed that salaries for bureaucrats ranging from incredibly cushy to downright obscene have been a huge factor in tuition increases.
“The increase in administrators and professional staff has far outpaced the growth of full-time faculty.”
— Director Andrew Rossi
Many college presidents now bring home seven-figure salaries, he noted. Read the rest of this entry »
…Gallup reported that 14% percent of adults between the ages of 24 and 34 – those in the post-college years when most young adults are trying to establish independence — report living at home with their parents. By contrast, roughly half of 18- to 23-year-olds, many of whom are still finishing their education, are currently living at home…