In a very recent post on guns on campus, I selectively surveyed the statistics on violent crime in the 2012 report on crimes reported on college campuses.
I cited the statistics on sexual assaults but noted that those crimes have apparently been very under-reported, at least on some campuses.
Female students on four campuses in particular—Amherst College, the University of North Carolina, Occidental College, and the University of Southern California—have organized formal protests against the ways in which their institutions have recently handled cases of rape and sexual assault.
I have read several dozen news articles on the protests at the four campuses, and I have to say that the issues have not been much clarified by that reading.
Here is what I believe that most people would assume would occur. Continue reading
This is a re-post from the “On the Issues” blog of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education [http://futureofhighered.org/on-the-issues/]
Although the details are shameful, it’s good to see the mainstream press publicizing the facts about higher education faculty appointments and compensation. A recent NBC report highlights these facts from the most recent annual survey on faculty appointments and compensation conducted by the American Association of University Professors: more than 3 out of 4 faculty members in American higher education today work in low-paid, insecure (often part-time) appointments that usually offer no health or other benefits. The median pay in these positions (often called “adjunct” positions) is $2,700 per course. Continue reading
The following is an open letter to the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees by Sheldon Liebman of Wright College.
Dear Chairperson Wolff, members of the Board of Trustees, and Chancellor Hyman:
When I spoke to you last November, my concern in my very brief remarks had to do exclusively with the issue of shared governance. Like the sixty or so members of the full-time faculty at Wright who had signed the petition, I felt that the administration of Cheryl Hyman had made a serious error in dismissing an employee who had served Wright College loyally and effectively for many years. However, as I was speaking to you, it occurred to me that you, as Board members, had little sympathy for my concerns because you had very little knowledge of the larger context in which this mistaken decision was made.
The point I wish to make today is that, for us at Wright College, the decision to fire a seasoned and valuable employee without any faculty input was not an isolated issue. Rather, it was the last in a long line of outrages that we believe have made Wright College a less effective educational institution. I assure you that this opinion of the Hyman administration’s negative impact on education at Wright is shared by the vast majority of the faculty at the College.
Just what is the right thing to do, the right thing to do morally? That is not always so easy a question to answer, maybe hardly ever is it such an easy question. In higher education there are many situations that pose just that sort of question. Moral issues, questions and dilemmas have existed and new ones continue to arise in higher education as they do in the very profession of education. Members of board of trustees and administrators, faculty and students all face situations with a moral dimension, or two, involved where decisions need to be made. This is the first of a continuing series of posts on such matters that in one way or another involve academic ethics. These posts will give consideration to and invite discussion of the moral dimension of quandaries and ordinary challenges and will make perspicuous the interplay and conflict of social and institutional values, academic values, professional values and both moral values and ethical principles in attempts to achieve elucidations and, perhaps, possible resolutions.
In Chinua Achebe’s second novel, No Longer At Ease, the main character ends up taking bribes. He excuses himself by arguing to himself that the people given favor are all qualified… the son of the man in the following passage is already on the short list for a scholarship:
‘Please have a seat.’
‘Thank you.’ He brought out a little towel from somewhere in the folds of his flowing gown and mopped his face. ‘I don’t want to waste your time,’ he said, mopping one forearm and then the other under the wide sleeves of his agbada. ‘My son is going to England in September. I want him to get scholarship. If you can do it for me here is fifty pounds.’ He brought out a wad of notes from the front pocket of his agbada.
Obi told him it was not possible. ‘In the first place I don’t give scholarships. All I do is go through the applications and recommend those who satisfy the requirements to the Scholarship Board.
”That’s all I want,’ said the man. ‘Just recommend him.’
Obi Okonkwo is caught between two cultures, one based on “rational” and “objective” choice based on evidence, a cultural attitude brought to Nigeria by the British and dating back to the Enlightenment. In it, extraneous factors (personal, financial… whatever) need to be ignored in decision-making. The other, the Igbo culture of his family, is based on relationships and on the gifts that solidify them. It’s not exactly a culture from The Godfather, though the idea of the ‘favor’ is important to both–as is the family.
I’m getting rather tired of finding myself agreeing with Stanley Fish–but it has happened again. Though I have admired Fish’s intellect and verbal ability for some thirty years now, only recently have I found myself nodding in agreement with things he writes. What bothers me is that I suspect either 1) I wasn’t reading him carefully in the past or 2) my own views have changed. I don’t like either possibility.
Just about a year ago, I presented a paper (via Skype) at the Modern Language Association annual meeting in Seattle. In it, I said, “Blind peer review is dead. It just doesn’t know it yet.” That got picked up by Inside Higher Ed‘s Scott Jaschik and created a minor stir. That surprised me, for what I was saying wasn’t really new–I just felt it needed saying once more.
While I was reading Stanley Fish’s New York Times article “Religious Exemptions and the Liberal State: A Christmas Column” all I could think of was a comment Bill O’Reilly made at the beginning of the month, claiming Christianity as a philosophy, not a religion–and of an experience of mine as a young man.
Fish discusses Brian Leiter’s book Why Tolerate Religion, which poses the questions:
Does the undoubted centrality of religion in the lives of its adherents suffice to justify exempting it from generally applicable laws? Should religion enjoy a special status that merits a degree of solicitude and protection not granted to other worldviews or systems of belief?
As a teacher at a college with a student population made up primarily of minorities, immigrants, and/or first-generation college students, an article in today’s New York Times hit home. By Jason DeParle, it is titled “For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall.” One of my greatest frustrations, and one I constantly work to overcome, arises from a situation DeParle describes succinctly:
With little guidance from family or school officials, college became a leap that they braved without a safety net.
I’ve long felt there’s something wrong with how “we” treat (and, quite frankly, profit from) students struggling to get a toe-hold in the middle class. We take their tuition (often forcing them into debt) on a promise of great future rewards, but we provide them with no clear swing to those rewards and no soft landing for those who, for one reason or another, don’t reach the other platform.
During the presidential campaign, Ann Romney said, “I’m hearing from so many women that may not have considered voting for a Republican before, but said, ‘It’s time for the grown-up to come, the man that’s going to take this seriously, that’s going to take the future of our children very, very seriously’.” Except for the political party, she got it exactly right. I only hope that Obama who, right now, is behaving like a grown-up in reaction to Friday’s killings, continues to. The Republicans, including Mitt Romney, certainly have not.
The craze of gun ownership, especially high-powered weapons of no purpose but killing humans, is childish. Those who enable it cater to children and abandon the responsibilities of adults. Spoutings in the wake of the killings, such as Mike Huckabee’s comment that the killings happened because we “removed God from our schools”: Nonsense. Any adult knows that the killings happened because we have too many guns, too high powered, and too easily available. Only a child, and a willfully ignorant one at that, can believe otherwise.