A New Blog on Liberty, and Upcoming Events

Erica Goldberg, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Penn State Law School, has started a new blog about liberty and legal issues. She and I engaged in a back-and-forth discussion in the comments on her first post about the meaning of liberty and its application to restrictive student organizations.

And I wanted to let everyone know about a couple of events coming up. First is the Illinois AAUP fall meeting on Sat. Nov. 3 in Chicago. Second is the AAUP’s Assembly of State Conferences Midwest regional meeting in St. Louis on Sat. Nov. 10.


The Shutdown of WZRD at NEIU

On June 29, 2012, the administration at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago shut down the student-run broadcast radio station, WZRD, and banned the student DJs from the airwaves. It was an act of censorship without due process that ignored NEIU’s policies, violated the First Amendment, and broke a state law protecting freedom of college student media. Continue reading

Limits and Freedom: One Important Dialogue

At the end of an article of his published yesterday in ThNew York Times, Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says:

Students can’t learn how to navigate democracy and engage with their fellow citizens if they are forced to think twice before they speak their mind.

Well… actually they can, and will learn it better if they do think twice. In fact, that’s part of what college is about, learning to think twice before shooting one’s mouth off.

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An Interview with Wayne Lanter

Wayne Lanter retired from Southwestern Illinois College and wrote a book about his 25 years of experience with union battles at one of the most important sites of faculty labor activism. Lanter’s book, Defending the Citadel, details the ups and downs of these labor fights. John K. Wilson interviewed Lanter via email for Academe Blog and Illinois Academe. Continue reading

Taking College Out of the Teacher-Training Process

”I don’t think the higher education programs are going away, and that wouldn’t be my intention.” So says Shael Polakow-Suransky of New York City’s Department of Education.

Nice, but Education Departments are not likely to be too happy with the intention of moving teacher training from certification programs in colleges and universities to in-house programs (though these would not lead to certificates).

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Yet Another Big Danger in For-Profit Higher Education

In August, Aaron Barlow, the editor of Academe and the Academe Blog, posted a piece on the blog addressing the possibility that electronic technologies might have the same impact on higher education as they have had on journalism. Aaron made the case that academia is fundamentally different than journalism in enough ways that our individual institutions are unlikely to be absorbed by some sort of online entities in the same way that, for instance, Newsweek is soon to be absorbed into The Daily Beast.

But I don’t believe that Aaron anticipated that journalism and higher education might become as financially intertwined as they have become in at least one very notable instance.

The Washington Post Company is a major corporation. In 2010, it had assets totaling $5.158 billion, annual revenues totaling $5.12 billion, and net profits of $278 million. Its holdings in publishing included, of course, the Washington Post, but also four other daily newspapers, 35 weekly newspapers, and a less clearly advertised number of military newspapers and real estate guides. Its broadcast holdings include six FM radio stations in major metropolitan markets, two television stations, and one cable network. It also owns three companies that specialize in various types of digital marketing.

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Supreme Court hears arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas

This is a guest post by Yen Tran, a legal fellow in the AAUP’s Washington office. 

On Wednesday, I attended part of the US Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the case Fisher v. University of Texas.  As a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a minority student, a Texas resident, and someone interested in higher education law and civil rights, I was especially interested in hearing the oral arguments in this case.  I arrived at the Supreme Court around six in the morning, and I instantly wished I got there earlier; the impossibly long line wrapped from the steps of the Court to around the side of the Library of Congress across the street.  Although I did not get a seat to see the entire argument (apparently the last person to get a seat arrived at four in the morning, according to an informal survey), I did see two three-minutes segments, and because I was part of the last group admitted from the rotating line, I got to observe almost a half hour of oral arguments.  As a result, I was fortunate enough see the bulk of the Gregory Garre’s argument and all of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s argument as they defended the University of Texas admission policy, as well as Bert W. Rein’s rebuttal, who represented Abigail Fisher. Continue reading

CUNY Pathways: Waiting for Leadership

Over the past three weeks, I’ve been thinking a great deal about CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s message to the faculty about the Queensborough Community College uproar. That it doesn’t sit well with many faculty members should be obvious from even a cursory reading (Pathways, for those who don’t know, is a top-down CUNY initiative aimed at improving coursework portability throughout the system—a noble goal, but of questionable design and implementation; more on the Queensborough letter referenced can be found here):

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Queensborough Community College Faculty Senate Resolutions

As promised:

Subject: Resolutions adopted 10-9-12




Resolutions adopted as College Policy October 9, 2012



Whereas, Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York is obliged to honor its legal obligations and the agreements it has undertaken,


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