10 Highest-Priced Public Colleges for Out-of-State Students
1. University of Michigan—Ann
2. University of Virginia
3. University of California—
4. College of William and Marry
5. University of California—Santa
6. University of California—Santa
7. University of California—
8. University of Vermont
9. University of California—Los
10. Virginia Military Institute
US News and World Report
The Iran Foray of the ASA, Martin Kramer, Commentary, December 20
Next Stop for the Israel Boycott Road Show, Jonathan Marks, Commentary, December 20
Lunch for 9 Million?, Wick Sloane, Inside Higher Ed, December 20
Necessary Elitism And The Demise Of Higher Education, Rachel Lu, The Federalist, December 18
The Sad State of College Writing, Michael Shaughnessy, Education Views, December 19
Class Warfare in Academe, Peter D.G. Brown, Inside Higher Ed, December 19
MORE COMMENTARIES >>>
ASA and the Politicization of Academe
By Peter Wood
The membership of the American Studies Association (ASA) on December 15
voted by a two-thirds majority to endorse a boycott of Israeli
universities. Minding the Campus has provided good coverage of both the events
leading up to this vote and its immediate aftermath. David
Bernstein at George Mason and Jonathan
Marks at Ursinus College have kept a close watch on the developments for
MTC. And observers in many other
quarters have issued thunderclaps at varying decibels--and effectiveness. The decisions
by Brandeis University and Penn State-Harrisburg to cancel their institutional
memberships in ASA give some heft to the outrage.
My organization, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) urged
ASA members to reject the boycott.
Now that it has passed, some NAS members are urging a further step. They would like us to join in a proposed
counter-boycott aimed at persuading universities to refuse to pay for ASA
membership or for travel to ASA events. As the nation's largest association of
university faculty members committed to traditional academic standards, what
NAS does or doesn't do on a matter like this has some importance.
December 19, 2013
On December 16th, as I reported on this site,
the American Studies Association voted to boycott Israel universities. Two days
later, Brandeis University and Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg
announced that they would cancel
their institutional memberships in the American Studies Association. Professor
William Jacobson of Cornell University and Legal Insurrection has a list of
affiliated institutions here and is
spearheading a drive to persuade other colleges and universities to drop their
Brandeis's statement was eloquent.
"It is with deep regret that we in the American Studies Program
at Brandeis University have decided to discontinue our institutional
affiliation with the American Studies Association. We view the recent
vote by the membership to affirm an academic boycott of Israel as a
politicization of the discipline and a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that
a scholarly association should foster. We remain committed to the
discipline of American Studies but we can no longer support an organization
that has rejected two of the core principles of American culture-- freedom of
association and expression."
Simon Bronner, chair of the Pennsylvania
State-Harrisburg's American Studies program, editor of the Encyclopedia for
American Studies, and a non-voting member of ASA's National Council says that
his department's move is a declaration of independence from the "political and ideological resolutions issued by the ASA" and
of the department's intent to "concentrate on building American studies scholarship"
rather than a new Mideast policy.
Two things are notable about these statements.
First, they emanate not from controversy-averse administrators or from those
Professor Jacobson's campaign has reached, but from American Studies
departments reacting immediately to the ASA's decision. These departments
continue the surprising resistance, in a discipline heavily influenced by the
radical left, to the ASA resolution, which has also been denounced by eight
former ASA presidents.
Second, they make no mention of the
Israel-Palestinian conflict instead taking their stand on principled objection
to the politicization of their discipline. Defenders of the resolution,
predictably, wish to paint their opposition as reactionaries and Zionists (for
them, support for a Jewish homeland is a thought crime).
But the opposition consists instead of people
like Richard Slotkin, a professor of history at Wesleyan University, who has
asked his colleagues to join him in calling for the resolution to be rescinded.
Slotkin is a longtime ASA member who in 1995 won the prestigious
Turpie prize for "outstanding abilities and achievement in American Studies
teaching, advising, and program development." Slotkin is also an opponent of
Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza and has even called for disinvestment
as a means of pressuring Israel. But even as strong an Israel critic as Slotkin
can see the trouble with American Studies scholars taking "a partisan position
in a political controversy in a foreign country, on an issue not directly
related to our work."
Steven Salaita, a professor of English at
Virginia Tech, a blogger for the Electronic Intifada, and a prominent proponent
of the ASA boycott responded to Slotkin's call to rescind like this: "What kind
of governance [of the ASA] would result from the sort of process Slotkin
proposes? Would it not look terribly different than . . . North Korea?" If
only the ASA had a Self-Parody award.
In spite of the vicious attacks to which
dissenting scholars can expect to be subject, I suspect that others will soon
join Penn State-Harrisburg and Brandeis in leaving the ASA. No matter what
their view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, many American Studies scholars
will bristle when they return from break and notice that their professional
association is now the propaganda arm of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and
Cultural Boycott of Israel.
While Richard Pérez-Peña and
the New York Times continue to ignore
the issue, Bloomberg's John Lauerman penned
a lengthy article on the wave of Title IX lawsuits filed by male students
victimized by biased college sexual assault procedures. Unlike the Times' coverage of the Title IX/sexual
assault procedures, Lauerman offered a balanced perspective, combining several
quotes from FIRE's Robert Shibley with quotes from anti-due process figures
such as Daniel Carter of "32 National Campus Safety Initiative."
Yet the article fell short in one critical respect.
Here's how Lauerman described the 2011 Dear Colleague letter: "In April, 2011,
the Obama administration published the 'Dear Colleague letter,' which
emphasized that schools would be in violation of Title IX's anti-gender
discrimination rules by failing to address sexual assaults . . . The
legislation requires colleges to investigate sexual assaults so that campuses
are safe places to learn for both men and women. Education Department guidelines call for probes, which are
usually conducted by a small panel of school officials, that should take less
than 60 days. Penalties can be appealed by both sides, and colleges can be sued
for imposing sanctions, such as expulsion."
The description makes the document almost seem benign--act
to "that campuses are safe places to learn for both men and women." (It's not
clear to me how procedures that are wildly tilted against accused students make
the campus safer for men.) Not only did Lauerman fail to mention the letter's demand
for a lower threshold for guilt in sexual assault/harassment cases but only in
those cases, at another point in the article he implied that the OCR had
mandated such a standard since 1995. (That would be news to all the
universities who scrambled to change their policies.) And the final line in the
description is odd--nothing in the "Dear Colleague" letter gave students a new
right to sue colleges. Indeed, the letter has already been cited as grounds to
dismiss lawsuits in cases involving Holy Cross, Xavier, and St. Joe's.
It's obviously difficult for reporters to cover
complicated procedural disputes. But for the vast majority of Bloomberg
readers, for whom this article likely would be their first exposure to the
"Dear Colleague" letter, Lauerman could have done much better.
To get a sense of the often unconscious biases through
which mainstream journalists can interpret this issue, take a look at the
twitter feed of a person who teaches future journalists, Bloomberg Chair Andrea
Gabor, of Baruch College's journalism department.
Responding to James
Taranto's exposé of Auburn's due process failures, Gabor--writing, she said,
as both a journalist and a "mom"--fired off
a series of furious tweets. (It's not clear to me why mothers should oppose
campus due process, given that most accused students do, in fact, also have
mothers.) Taranto's story, she reasoned, was an "anecdote" that
doesn't suggest a broader problem, and therefore failed to rise to "the level
of 'importance.'" (Gabor evidently couldn't be troubled to look through FIRE's
archives; hopefully her students, as future journalists, will do better in
undertaking basic research before spouting off opinions.) With "so much injustice,"
Gabor wondered, "why [are you] focusing on this"? (Injustice in some places, it
seems, isn't worth journalistic inquiry.) "Pity the poor men,"
And, wildly misrepresenting Taranto's thesis, Gabor
wondered whether his "point is rapists
sh[ou]ld NOT get expelled." After several correspondents pointed out
otherwise, Gabor tossed in a backhanded tweet commending someone who mentioned
the role of due process, without saying whether she actually favored the
Judged according to the Gabor Standard of journalistic
fairness, perhaps Lauerman's piece, even with its flawed description of the
"Dear Colleague" letter, deserves unqualified praise.
December 17, 2013
If low-cost Internet-based learning totally transforms higher
education, we can thank Charles "Chuck" Vest, long-time president of M.I.T.
Chuck, who died last week of cancer, was a great man in many ways, but his
crowning achievement, the OpenCourseWare program at M.I.T., spurred huge changes whose full implications are only
beginning to be understood.
In 2002, Chuck made his greatest contribution to higher
education by inducing MIT to put all of its syllabi, reading materials,
examinations, etc., on-line, allowing anyone with an inquisitive mind to
learn a large portion of what formally enrolled MIT students would learn in
Cambridge. "This program is based on the twin values of opportunity and
openness," he said. How nice. Most highly selective schools focus on the elite
and ignore the broader population. These schools are characterized by three "E"
words: expensive, exclusive, and elitist. Chuck was more sympathetic to three
"A" words: accessibility, affordability, and accountability. The stress on affordability may reflect the fact
that Vest grew up in West Virginia, one of the nation's poorest states.
Out of this open source movement morphed the MOOCs.
Educational entrepreneurs like Sebastian Thrun were critical in developing this
movement, but they all drew their inspiration from the earlier moves of Chuck
Vest (MIT now is in partnership with Harvard with their edX MOOC offerings). But Vest made his mark in terms of promoting
accessibility in other ways, such as dramatically increasing female and
minority student and faculty participation at MIT.
Continue reading "What Charles Vest Did for Higher Education" »
The Chronicle of Higher Education has kindly validated
our complaints about higher-education excess. According to the Chronicle's
analysis, 42 private college presidents received over one million dollars in
total compensation in 2011, while the median compensation was $410,523. Though
many of the top earners preside over some of the largest and most prestigious
institutions--Chicago, Penn, and Columbia--a good number come from less
prominent schools such as Marist, whose president, Dennis J. Murray, makes $2.7
million, and Chapman, where president James L. Doty makes $1.1 million.
Presidents at elite universities can assume that the good
times will continue to roll. Despite the overall drop in private school
enrollment, students will still apply to and enroll in their schools in droves,
which will keep their trustees happy and their salaries sky-high. Those at
lower-tier schools, however, will not be so lucky, as declines in enrollment
and revenue will ultimately force trustees to cut administrative salaries. To
save face, these presidents might even cut their salaries themselves, as Richard
Joel of Yeshiva University recently did. Yes, mediocre institutions have the most
to fear from the coming bursting of the higher-ed bubble. We should all be thankful.
December 16, 2013
The results are in. The American Studies Association has voted to boycott Israel, becoming
the second notable academic association, after the Association for Asian
American Studies, to vote on the boycott. What does this move mean?
It will be touted as a sign of strength of the Boycott,
Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. And to be fair, a win is a win. However,
the Association for Asian American Studies passed their resolution unanimously
at its April convention with not even an abstention. While the AAAS never put
their resolution to a vote of the full membership, it remains the case, almost
eight months after the resolution, that not one member of that organization has
publicly dissented. In contrast, the American Studies Association, in spite of
its well-earned reputation for radicalism, includes members who fiercely
opposed the resolution.
Opposition from within the American Studies Association,
compelled the full membership vote and a watering down,
as David Bernstein has written here, of the original
resolution. The present resolution says
only that the American Studies Association will not in its official capacity
cooperate with Israeli universities or its official representatives. Since the
American Studies Association has few if any official ties with Israeli
universities, the resolution is purely symbolic.
However, the symbolism is terrible. The U.S. Campaign for
the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which five of six members of the
ASA executive committee had endorsed prior to this month's discussion, warns its supporters that
"all academic exchanges with Israeli academics do have the effect of
normalizing Israel and its politics of occupation and apartheid."
Conservatives who read about this resolution may think
that academia is lost. If so, they should read this blistering
attack on the resolution by Henry Reichman, first vice
president of the 48,000 member strong association for American University
Professors. Although the AAUP came out strongly against the Association for
Asian American Studies as well, and opposes academic boycotts as
a matter of policy and principle, Reichman's piece in the widely read InsideHigherEd was
notable for its frank, detailed condemnation of the American Studies boycotters
for their hypocrisy in singling out Israel and their failure to conduct the
election vote "in a spirit of frank and free discussion."
There has been some bad blood between the AAUP and more
conservative groups, like the National Association of Scholars, that also
oppose boycotts. Readers may judge NAS president Peter Wood's attack on the AAUP for
themselves. But, regardless of whether Wood is right that the AAUP is
changing for the worse, AAUP stalwarts like Reichman, Cary Nelson, and Ernst Benjamin have
led the charge against boycotts. Whatever the AAUP's defects may be, we should
probably join them (can someone loan me $147?), even if we sometimes must
sometimes disagree with or criticize them.
I say so not out of any disrespect for the NAS, which
does important work, but from my sense that, even today, and especially under
the difficult conditions in which higher education finds itself, there is a
winning coalition to be forged between conservatives, old-fashioned academic
liberals, and the many academics, particularly in the natural and hard social
sciences, who find the politicization of the academy unwelcome and a
distraction from dealing with the threats, in some cases existential,
that many colleges and universities now confront. The boycott movement is a
very thin slice of the left, and has earned denunciation in the Nation and
from the editor of Dissent.
This is not an issue that divides conservative and liberals or Israel boosters
and Israel critics. The boycott movement has a narrow constituency, and its
natural opposition is a broad group of academics and non-academics committed to
the proposition that colleges and universities should not be propaganda arms of
political movements like BDS. This movement will win only if we let
on Thursday, graduate students at NYU have voted 620-10 in favor of
unionization. This is not the first time that grad students at NYU have voted
to do so. In 2002, grad students there became the first graduate student union
to negotiate a contract with a private university, before the National Labor
Relations Board reversed their decision in 2005. Graduate student unions
already exist at a few dozen public universities across the country, but are
actually banned by the NLRB at private colleges. Thus, it remains to be seen
how the Obama administration will
unionization consistently proffer the same argument: that students are merely
wage-earners whom the university employs to save costs. But what
advocates of unionization don't seem to realize is that they were admitted to a university as students, not hired as
workers. In 2012, a group of university professional associations filed
a brief with the NLRB which reaffirmed that "Students enroll in graduate school to complete their higher
education, not to work for wages. Their relationship with the university is
fundamentally one of a student and teacher, not master-servant."
many unionization advocates seem to speak with an outsized sense of
entitlement. Check out these
quotes from a cinema studies Ph.D. student at NYU:
"We should be a major
investment for the school," said Gharabaghi, whose son will soon be turning
one. According to the agreement, NYU and union are supposed to immediately
begin negotiating--they hope to have a completed contract by the end of the
academic year--and one major priority for Gharabaghi is family healthcare
benefits. He's currently on a state-subsidized plan because NYU charges
graduate students a 33 percent increase in dependent premiums. "I shouldn't
have to choose between my son and my PhD," Gharabaghi said.
I can't understand why Gharabaghi believes
that a Ph.D. student in cinema studies - a field already glutted with
pseudo-literary hacks - is an "investment" for the
school. The school loses money on a Ph.D. student like Gharabaghi, and it's
not always clear what value graduate students bring to a school, besides their
teaching workload. Additionally, having a baby is an expensive prospect, and a
rare one for people in graduate school. Virtually every health insurance plan
in America charges an extra amount for dependent coverage. Why should a
graduate student's health plan be any different?
the argument that graduate students are compensated unfairly for their work is,
in this case, just plain wrong. Let's examine the financial aid
package for a Cinema Studies graduate student at NYU: he already gets 36
credits of tuition remission (a value of tens of thousands of dollars at pricey
NYU), and $20,000 stipend each of his first four years in the program. In reality,
this is a pretty sweetheart deal to watch and write about movies. While many
adjunct and grad students do work huge hours for next to nothing, it is not
incumbent on universities to provide them with increasingly cushy benefit packages.
December 12, 2013
As the higher-ed bubble bursts, the biggest
losers are graduate students, who train
for years for a
profession with rapidly dwindling employment prospects. As enrollments
decrease, tenure-track jobs vanish, and universities hire more administrators
than faculty, these students want to protect their investment in higher-ed. So many
push for unionization.
students achieved a significant victory yesterday, when the NYU administration recognized NYU and NYU-Poly's graduate student
union. NYU withdrew recognition
of the union in 2005 on the grounds that the union was meddling
in academic affairs by trying
to negotiate teaching assignments and student evaluations. The union, now
represented by the United Auto Workers, has agreed that "that academic
decisions are not subject to bargaining." in return, NYU has agreed not to actively campaign
against the union. NYU's calm negotiations stand in sharp contrast to last
month's labor unrest at University of California, where graduate students,
along with other UC employees, engaged in a 24-hour strike to protest staffing
shortages and the UC system's
requiring employees to increase
personal contributions to
their benefit plans.
success will likely galvanize
graduate students across the country. However, any improvement in student
fortunes can only forestall their true adversity: the shrinking job market.