Welcome to Paideia Times. Our goal is to be the information gateway to the essential questions facing higher education trustees. Please examine the new issue and tell me what you think. Peter Meyer, Managing Editor
TOP STORIES “Snowflakes” beware.... Embracing AI.... Cheating is easy.... Pac 12 down to 2.... Dramatic fall for Stanford president... After affirmative action decision, loopholes emerge.... Higher ed leadership trends.... Whoa to DEI programs.... and more.
Artificial Intelligence Anxiety From fake term papers to existential threat MORE
AI Makes Cheating Easy... and undetectable Ask any student MORE
Meet Ms. Chatbot... Your new assistant for teaching and reviewing transcripts MORE
Embracing AI in the Classroom As universities sprint to expand capacity, it's a veritable artificial intelligence “arms race.” MORE
“Snowflakes” Take Heat as Academic Freedom Gets more Protection "Student outrage on social media [is not dictat[ing] university policy MORE
Collegial or Canceled Is charging uncollegiality a way to find misconduct? MORE
Cancel Culture and Censorship On campus, speakers get heckled and disinvited while profs get opposed and suspended MORE
Northwestern Hazing Scandal Grows Football, baseball, and volleyball share a widespread problem MORE
Pac-12 Collapses Down to 2 Changing media landscape to blame MORE
Dramatic Fall From the Top Stanford President resigns over research concerns MORE
Honesty Expert Accused of Fraud Star professor at Harvard Business School allegedly fabricated results MORE
Former University of Chicago President Dies Robert Zimmer, a champion for free speech dies at 75 MORE
New College of Florida Cancels Gender Studies College sits at the center of DeSantis’ “War on Woke” MORE
Higher Ed Leadership Trends I... More female and customer-focused, but shortening tenures MORE
Higher Ed Leadership Trends II... Resignations on the rise MORE
Presidents and Questionable Choices? Recent changes at the top involve those deemed undereducated, rude, disruptive, or too cozy with Epstein MORE
California Names New Chancellor California State University chose Mildred Garcia chancellor in a time of crisis MORE
Kerfuffle at Texas A&M Texas A&M’s president out after a hiring disaster MORE
Benno Schmidt, Who Led Yale and CUNY, Passes On Wunderkind of constitutional law dies at 81 MORE
College Presidents Doing Cool Things Making Miami a tech hub, cracking the code to the top, and Think[ing] Big MORE
Short Stack: Important Reading A curated list also to be published on the Substack platform in PTWeekly MORE
Should Admissions Recruit Like Athletics? With affirmative action gone, novel approaches are needed MORE
Florida May Become First to Accept CLT “Classics Learning Test” MORE
The Supreme Court Restricts the Use of Affirmative Action in College Admissions Americans are remarkably ambivalent MORE
Essays a Loophole to Ask About Race? SCOTUS rejected race as a factor in admissions, but some wiggle room remains MORE
After Ruling, What Next? Devastating results predicted by some, but schools with 2% acceptance rate offer equal opportunity for rejection MORE
Legacy Admissions Come Under Fire Multiple calls made to abolish priority to the relatives of alumni MORE
Harvard’s Legacy Challenged Lawyers for Civil Rights complaint alleges Harvard’s system “disproportionately advantage[s] white applicants.” MORE
Affirmative Action for the 1 percenters? Which is better for funding ivies: wealthy people with ties, or corporations and foreign governments? MORE
POTUS Guidance After Decision Biden administration provides road map for maintaining diversity while complying with decision MORE
Affirmative Action Battle to come Financial need or merit, but not race, will drive aid decisions MORE
Texas Legislature Votes Keeps tenure but bans DEI MORE
DEI Programs Face Scrutiny After a surge in these programs, anti–Diversity, Equity and Inclusion legislation tries to rein it in MORE
Abuse Survivors File New Lawsuits Sexual assault victims of Larry Nassar and Richard Strauss sue Michigan State and Ohio State University, respectively MORE
FedEd Delays Title IX Regs Over 240,000 comments to review MORE
SCOTUS Gives Verdict on Debt Relief Supreme Court rules the Biden plan unconstitutional, reigniting the debt relief debate MORE
Programs Offer Borrowers Hope After the Supreme Court decision to reject loan forgiveness, changes to Income-driven Repayment plans may bring a new relief MORE
1 AI Anxiety: From College Cheating to Existential Threat The artificial intelligence revolution has generated widespread worries not only about cheating, but also about the classic science-fiction warnings that computers might evolve to simply take over the world. Author and Tulane University professor Walter Isaacson, writing in The Wall Street Journal, noted that while the digital revolution was taking place, most people did not notice for years how the evolution of personal computers was beginning to change the world in fundamental ways. By contrast, the world realized in a few weeks after the November 2022 release of the AI program ChatGPT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) that “a transformation was happening with head-snapping speed that would change the nature of work, learning and creativity and the tasks of daily life." Isaacson added, “Is it inevitable that machines will become super-intelligent on their own?”
In late May, executives from leading artificial-intelligence companies—including OpenAI, Google DeepMind, and Anthropic—issued a statement warning that their technology could pose a future existential threat to the world. These leaders cautioned, according to The New York Times, that the technology “should be considered a societal risk on a par with pandemics and nuclear wars.”
Signatories included Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, winners of the Turing Award for their groundbreaking work on neural networks and widely considered “godfathers” of modern AI. Their statement comes at a time of emergent concern about the potential harm of AI. Innovations in large language models, used in chatbots, have elevated fears that AI could soon be used to disseminate disinformation and propaganda, might destroy countless professional jobs, and could cause widespread social upheaval—unless science can slow it down.
In a startling, related development that recalls decades of science fiction, Elon Musk’s company Neuralink completed a series of animal studies in May and is applying to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization to implant chips into the brains of human test subjects. to the top
2 Free Speech Isn’t Free—From Consequences Speech may be “free”—but it’s not consequence-free, as law schools, universities, and students are finding in the wake of pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic statements, rallies, and threats, as well as anti-Palestinian activities. Led by billionaire Marc Rowan, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus and longtime supporter, donors are pulling funds from UPenn, Harvard, and other elite schools. Wealthy donors are not just losing patience with the schools, they are losing it with the schools’ students too: businesses leaders do not want employees whose values are at odds with their firms’. White-shoe firms withdrew employment offers from Harvard, Columbia, and New York University students after their pro-Hamas statements—and two-dozen law firms fired off a letter to deans at top-ranked law schools, warning the deans that they are questioning whether graduates are being prepared to contribute to a workplace culture with “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism or other forms of bigotry. Meanwhile, as we enter early-decision application season, some are counseling Jewish families to factor campus safety into their school selection. (See also College Presidents and the New Campus Culture War.) to the top
3 Meet Ms. Chatbot, My New Teaching Assistant Amidst the fears about student cheating and machines outthinking humans, professors and administrators are also embracing the potential of artificial intelligence to improve higher education. Innovative uses of AI include assisting in the classroom, reviewing transcripts in admissions offices, tutoring, and helping students with disabilities.
Inside Higher Education reported in late June that “The rapid march of AI into classrooms has reached Harvard University’s flagship computer science course, which is now using ChatGPT as a way of freeing up teaching assistants to spend more quality time with students.”
Computer Science 50: Introduction to Computer Science leveraged AI as a tool to assist in teaching about 70 students in a summer program and is slated to have more than 600 students in the fall semester.
‘“We’re very much steering into AI and what we view as the potential upsides,” said David Malan, Professor of Computer Science. He continued, “There is a real need for more guidance for students in computer science classes.” But even with the substantial resources the university already has, Malan believes Harvard should “reallocate the most useful resources—the humans—to help students who need it most. It’s not to reduce the number of teachers, but to enhance them.”
Inside Higher Education also reported in May that even though admissions offices fear that students will submit essays created with AI, they are cautiously beginning to use AI to review transcripts, a key part of college applications. “College officials, association leaders and the companies involved all insist that systems are safe and that there is plenty of (human) checking of the work of machines...no one is being admitted entirely through AI.” Many universities have not announced guidelines for high school applicants on the use of AI tools. The New York Times reported, “chatbots are not yet great at simulating long-form personal essays with authentic student voices.” When five chatbots were tasked with producing answers to some short essay questions asked by elite schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth, chatbots “liberally made stuff up” and used “trite words and phrases.” to the top
4 Embracing AI in the Classroom, As Universities Sprint to Expand Capacity The landscape of higher education—just 10 months after the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT—has changed dramatically. Faculty report that students use AI to write essays and do math and science assignments. Many professors are using AI-detection software or modifying course work to defeat cheaters. In August, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that computer scientists are saying that “the rise of artificial intelligence is no different than the advent of the pocket calculator or the Google search engine: It’s a tool that, if used correctly, can help people learn faster and think on a deeper level.”
Some computer-science faculty members are integrating AI into their courses by underscoring tech weaknesses. Peter Stone, a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin, noted that “While ChatGPT can generate basic code, it makes mistakes, especially as the code gets more complicated.” Bruno Ribeiro, associate professor at Purdue University, gives his computer science class seemingly simple coding problems that include hidden variations that set traps for AI. He then asks students to indicate where the AI went wrong and then correct the code.
“At the end of the day,” says Ribeiro, "what they really learn is how to think and how to check things and how to verify if something is right or something is wrong…. I tell my students, ‘Look, if ChatGPT gives you the answer, that’s great, but if it’s wrong, you are responsible for it.’”
While faculty hurry to incorporate AI into teaching, the academy is rushing to expand its faculty and facilities to accommodate this dizzying new reality. In May, Inside Higher Education called the fierce pace of AI development among Google, Microsoft, and other tech giants and start-ups “an artificial intelligence arms race.” Case in point: the University of Southern California, which has invested more than $1 billion in its AI initiative—90 new faculty members, a new seven-story building and a new school. to the top
5 Trending: “Snowflakes” Take Heat on Campus Last April The Washington Post opined that colleges are “waking up to the realization that academic freedom needs to be protected, and that student outrage on social media should not dictate university policy.” What’s the evidence? A consortium of university presidents launched a Campus Call for Free Expression in August. Other presidents are also taking stands for free speech: Cornell’s Martha Pollack, for example, asserted that “if we ever accept that someone, anyone, has the right to tell us what we’re allowed to say—we’ll also be giving them the right to control what we’re allowed to hear and to know.” Shortly thereafter, she was tested and held her ground; when Cornell’s Student Assembly proposed a resolution that professors publish “traumatic content” warnings on syllabi, Pollack rejected the proposal and reiterated her commitment to academic freedom. At Stanford Law, under pressure from the school’s leadership, the associate dean who supported students as they heckled a federal judge, while he tried to give a speech, and was forced to step down. (Stanford has had other problems; see Dramatic Fall From the Top: Stanford President Resigns Over Research Concerns) A group of Harvard faculty banded together to found the Harvard Council on Academic Freedom while faculty at Princeton and other campuses unveiled the “Princeton Principles for a Campus Culture of Free Inquiry,” which they describe as “extending” the famed Chicago Principles. (See Former University of Chicago President and Free Speech Advocate Dies at 75.) A number of institutions are coaching students in civil discourse: The American University has a “Disagree with a Professor” series, Massachusetts Institute of Technology began a “Dialogues Across Difference” program, and Princeton University added training on free speech to its student orientation. Meanwhile, some aren’t buying the notion of institutional resistance to cancel culture: Academic freedom scholar Eric Kaufmann writes that these examples of standing up to “snowflakes” are merely “counter-wavelets on the surface of a rising swell” of what he calls “illiberalism.” to the top
6 Collegial or Canceled Collegiality has long been a contested standard for academic conduct: Should departments be able to discipline peers for “uncollegial” behavior, or should they instead risk being abused by tenured cranks? Or is the charge of uncollegiality a way to defenestrate unpopular colleagues under the guise of a finding of misconduct? That was the core of a case recently decided at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. A tenured professor in the North Carolina State University School of Education argued that his department colleagues and their scholarly field were prioritizing social justice concerns above academic standards. In response, the department branded him as “uncollegial” and punished him, which included barring him from teaching in the Ph.D. program. By a 2–1 margin, the court ruled against the professor’s claim that his speech was protected by the First Amendment. Keith Whittington, a Princeton University professor and chair of the Academic Committee of the Academic Freedom Alliance warns: “The consequences for professors at public colleges and universities could be quite dire. Writing a `Dear Colleague' email expressing unpopular views about any number of professional matters could get you fired or otherwise sanctioned.” Others see similar cases of “cranky” professors being bullied out of the university with charges of uncollegiality. to the top
7 Cancel Culture and Campus Censorship Even as some campus leaders try to get ahead of the curve (see “Snowflakes” Take Heat on Campus), at Boston University graduates heckled its commencement speaker; at the University of Chicago—known for its free speech culture—students and faculty called for the disinvitation of New York Times columnist (and Chicago alumnus) Bret Stephens. At UCLA graduate students organized to oppose a candidate for a faculty role; after he did not receive a job offer, an administrator conceded that “unusual” factors had affected the decision. But students and faculty aren’t the only ones who seem to occupy the role of censor. In Texas a pharmacy professor was suspended after she allegedly named the lieutenant governor as she criticized the state’s opioid policy during a lecture. In Idaho professors say the new No Public Funds for Abortion Act has forced them to revise their syllabi and research agenda to avoid the appearance of promoting abortion. to the top
8 Northwestern Hazing Scandal Grows to Include Multiple Sports Northwestern University fired its head football coach, Pat Fitzgerald, following allegations of sexualized hazing. Fitzpatrick, a former linebacker for the Wildcats, had been on the job for 17 years. Northwestern’s football program has been embroiled in scandal since last November, when an anonymous whistleblower reported allegations of hazing taking place both in the locker room and at a football summer training camp. The university hired an outside lawyer to conduct an investigation, which went on for months and concluded with an executive summary and a full report. The executive summary has been released, but not the full report. Several football players have filed lawsuits against the university alleging that the hazing involved nudity, sexualized acts, and forced participation. Three days after Fitzgerald was fired, the baseball coach was let go amid allegations of bullying. Complaints of bullying, hazing, and retaliation have also emerged from the volleyball team. Current football players call the allegations “exaggerated and twisted into lies.” However, Northwestern president Michael Schill wrote in a letter to the campus: “The head coach is ultimately responsible for the culture of his team. The hazing we investigated was widespread and clearly not a secret within the program, providing Coach Fitzgerald with the opportunity to learn what was happening.” to the top
9 Changing Media Landscape Leads to Pac-12 Collapse After a summer of upheaval, the Pac-12 Conference is now down to just two members: Oregon State and Washington State Universities. The dominoes began falling when USC and UCLA bolted for the Big Ten. Then Colorado moved to the Big 12, followed by Oregon and Washington leaving for the Big Ten. Shortly afterward Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah also moved to the Big 12. The top option for Oregon State and Washington State appears to be joining the Mountain West Conference. These defections may well be the final blow to the Pac-12, the 108-year-old “Conference of Champions.” Commissioner George Kliavkoff tried to save the league but wasn’t able to nail down a new television deal even after negotiating for more than a year with several cable and streaming partners. This is all part of a dramatic realignment of the college-sports landscape as the biggest names gravitate toward two powerful conferences that are flush with huge broadcast deals: the Big Ten and the SEC. to the top
10 Dramatic Fall From the Top: Stanford President Resigns Over Research Concerns Marc Tessier-Lavigne has resigned as president of Stanford University after a months-long investigation found “serious flaws” and manipulated data in 12 scientific papers that listed him as either principal or co-author. A panel of experts concluded that the prominent neuroscientist did not engage in any fraud or falsification of scientific data. Nor was there any evidence that he was aware of problems before publication of data. However, the investigation found that he “failed to decisively and forthrightly correct mistakes in the scientific record.” This involves studies published well before Tessier-Lavigne arrived at Stanford in 2016—some dating back to 1999 and 2001. An 89-page report, which was based on more than 50 interviews and a review of more than 50,000 documents, cleared Tessier-Lavigne of misconduct. However, the panel noted that he “has not been able to provide an adequate explanation” for why he did not correct the scientific record when presented the opportunity on multiple occasions. The sudden resignation follows months of reporting by a campus newspaper, The Stanford Daily. The student journalist who led the reporting won a prestigious George Polk Award in Journalism for his work. Tessier-Lavigne denied the claims from the start and harshly criticized the student newspaper, which some say may have compromised his role as a community leader. He stepped down on August 31 but will remain with the university as a tenured professor in the biology department. to the top
11 Harvard Honesty Expert Is Accused of Fraud A star professor at Harvard Business School who co-authored dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals on honest behavior is under fire for allegedly fabricating results. Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist, was placed on administrative leave after evidence surfaced that she falsified data in a 2012 study. The 2012 paper, written by Gino and four colleagues, reported that people who sign honesty pledges at the top of tax or insurance documents are more likely to be truthful than those who sign at the bottom. The paper has been cited hundreds of times by other scholars. Questions about her work were first reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education on June 16. The next day, a trio of academics wrote on their blog, Data Colada, that they’d found “evidence of fraud” in four of her papers. But “we believe that many more Gino-authored papers contain fake data,” they added, without specifying. “Perhaps dozens.” Gino is now suing Harvard and the authors of the blog for $25 million on the grounds of defamation and gender discrimination, claiming the allegations against her “sullied, if not destroyed” her career and amounted to a “vicious defamatory smear campaign.” to the top
12 Former University of Chicago President and Free Speech Advocate Dies at 75 Former University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, a champion for free speech, has passed away. He was 75. In announcing his death, the university said his presidency will be remembered as “one of the longest and most impactful in the university’s 133-year history.” A mathematician by training, Zimmer served as president of the university for 15 years until stepping down in 2021. In 2014, Zimmer appointed a faculty group to upgrade the university’s guidelines on freedom of expression. The “Chicago Principles,” which restated the university’s commitment to keeping the university open to all speakers and political and cultural points of view, have since been adopted by more than 80 colleges and universities nationwide. This commitment was put to a test in 2018 when Steve Bannon, an advisor to former president Donald Trump, was invited to speak on campus, sparking protests from students and alumni. Although the university issued a statement supporting the event, it was eventually called off. During Zimmer’s tenure, the university expanded its presence around the globe with satellite sites in Beijing, New Delhi and Hong Kong. Zimmer also expanded financial assistance programs for undergrads and brought in donations totaling $100 million. Today, free speech on campus is a bigger concern than ever before, with 72 percent of conservative faculty members, 56 percent of moderates and even 40 percent of liberals fearful that speaking their mind could cost them their jobs or reputations. to the top
13 College at the Center of DeSantis’ ‘War on Woke’ Cancels Gender Studies The New College of Florida, a liberal arts college in Sarasota and the smallest of Florida’s public higher ed institutions, received a record level of state funding—totaling $50 million—this budget cycle. This comes months after Governor Ron DeSantis overhauled the NCF’s board of trustees, which then forced out the college’s president, denied tenure to faculty members who were on track for it, and eliminated the diversity, equity, and inclusion office. The board also voted to abolish NCF’s gender studies program, making it the first public university in the country to do so. New members of the board include Christopher Rufo, who has made a name for himself by attacking critical race theory. The board’s model for New College is Hillsdale College, a small, evangelical Christian college in rural Michigan known for its “patriotic curriculum.” For many students a sense of anxiety looms over the start of the fall semester. Who will replace the faculty members who have left? Where will the students live? A new system is giving the best dorm rooms to 100 newly recruited student athletes—who have lower grade point averages and SAT scores than other students—while returning students are being moved to older buildings, two of which were declared uninhabitable. to the top
14 Trends in Higher Ed Leadership I—More Female and Customer-Focused, but Shortening Tenures A presidential-hiring study reveals that “women now sit in the president’s office in 30 percent of the nation’s 146 R1 research universities, up from 22 percent in 20 months. The survey compares numbers from September 2021 and also found that 53 percent of the 38 presidents appointed since that period were women. Also during that time, nine institutions named their first female president. Andrea Silbert, president of the Eos Foundation (survey sponsor) said, “This speaks to an increased awareness of the importance of having academic leadership that represents...the student population it serves.... We’re starting to see more gender and racial diversity reflected in the highest roles in academia.”
Joshua Doležal, in an op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, contemplates how Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America applies to some higher ed institutions’ choice of leaders. In it she critiques the “pastorpreneurs” like Joel Osteen, and his church based on what their customers want rather than on a theological foundation. Doležal opines that if you swap out Osteen for a university leader, Ehrenreich’s ‘pastorpreneur’ could easily become a ‘presidentpreneur.’ He believes some leaders are driven by the notion that students are the “employers” and institutions will need remodeling in order to attract them. Leaders should also note that they have shorter time frames to work their strategic plans—a recent survey found that “more than 1,000 presidents have been in their positions for an average of 5.9 years” versus an average of 8.5 years found in a 2006 survey. to the top
15 Trends in Higher Ed Leadership II—Resignations on the Rise Is the “Great Resignation,” or the “Big Quit” (a global phenomenon that arose following the pandemic) a continuing trend for higher ed leadership? Inside Higher Ed reports that “a difficult environment is likely driving presidents away.... The sector faces...growing politicization of higher education [and a] shrinking number of students to go around.” It also notes that at HBCUs, “more than 20 HBCU presidencies have become available because of retirements, resignations or involuntary resignations” since 2022 and that “nearly one-quarter of HBCU colleges [are] being led by interim, acting or departing presidents.” University Business observes that the tenure among six high profile presidents who departed this past July was three and a half years, much shorter than the 5.9 years reported in Trends in Higher Ed Leadership I—More Female and Customer Focused, But Shorter Time at the Helm. to the top
16 Presidents and Questionable Choices? (Not-So-Cool Things) In Florida, Republican state representative Fred Hawkins emerged as the finalist to lead a South Florida State College five days after the district board of trustees lowered the education requirements, allowing him to qualify, and the other candidates dropped out.
Jack Thomas, the president of Central State University, a historically Black institution in Wilberforce, Ohio, stepped down after an investigation into his management style found him “rude, belittling, and bullying,” though it did not “rise to the level of harassment.”
Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, which is billed as “a private college for the public good,” had repeatedly met with Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire accused of sexually abusing teenage females. In speaking with The New York Times, Dr. Botstein defended his actions: “You cannot pick and choose, because among the very rich is a higher percentage of unpleasant and not very attractive people. Capitalism is a rough system.”
A New Jersey state senator called placing Jason Wingard at Temple University putting in “the right president, at the right time.” However, 20 months later it was reported that he was considered too much of a disruptor and that “labor strife, curricular clashes, and public-safety woes unraveled [his] high-profile presidency.”
Critics say Ben Sasse seems to be spending too much time on the phone in his first weeks as University of Florida president. The Sunshine State higher ed leader has been less than transparent—The Chronicle of Higher Education obtained screenshots of his calendar showing big blocks of time labeled “call” or “meeting,” but no other information. According to the Chronicle, “Sasse has made few public appearances and declined a number of interview requests from local media.” Reportedly, campus fliers with Sasse’s photo captioned “MISSING!” and “Have you seen this man?” have been circulating. to the top
17 California Names New Chancellor California State University, the largest four-year public university system in the U.S. and deemed to be in crisis, named Mildred Garcia chancellor in July. In a Los Angeles Times interview, she addressed some of the issues before her, including what the paper called the “widespread flaws in the way the system handles sexual misconduct complaints [and a possible] annual six percent tuition increase to help bridge a $1.5-billion budget gap,” as well as enrollment that “fell by more than 26,000 students systemwide between 2017 and 2022” and persistent equity gaps. While she led Cal State Fullerton, Garcia improved its “four-year graduation rate by 65 percent and won recognition from a host of state and national education groups for closing the achievement gaps between Latinos.” Hopefully she can recreate that success throughout the 23-campus system. In a Washington Post interview, she noted that she was the “first in her family to obtain a college degree.” Multiple degrees, in fact: an associate’s degree from a New York community college, a bachelor’s in business education from Bernard M. Baruch College in the City University of New York system, a master’s in business education from New York University, a master’s and doctorate in higher education administration from Teachers College at Columbia University. She stated, “When you educate a first-generation, low-income person of color…you are transforming a family.... And I can speak from experience. That’s me. Public higher ed was my foundation.” Besides the enrollment budget, and sexual-misconduct concerns, when asked by The New York Times “What are your other priorities?,” she answered, “A.I. and ChatGPT is on top of us in teaching and learning. We can’t ignore it. We have to think about—how do we use it for efficiency? How do we use it and then be able to assess that our students are learning?... Our institutions have to become educational laboratories, where you can learn what’s cutting edge.” See also AI Anxiety: From College Cheating to Existential Threat. to the top
18 Kerfuffle at Texas A&M (Apologize & Mediate?) Texas A&M’s president, Katharine Banks, is out after a hiring disaster led her to the conclusion that “the recent challenges regarding Dr. [Kathleen] McElroy have made it clear to me that I must retire immediately.... The negative press is a distraction from the wonderful work being done here.” Her statement, which was made in mid-July, followed a failed and “flawed hiring process” for which she took responsibility, but denied knowledge of—though a review of some of her texts would show this to be untrue. Texts with a dean, which were a back-and-forth on terms of her contract, devolved into calling Dr. McElroy an “awful person.” What really happened? Kathleen McElroy was slated to lead the journalism program at her alma mater, having served in that capacity at the University of Texas prior to landing the new position. However, as reported in The New York Times, the interim dean of liberal arts put it bluntly to her: “‘You’re a Black woman who was at The New York Times and, to these folks, that’s like working for Pravda.’” Her tenured position morphed into a one-year contract, so she went back to UT. The Washington Post observed that this debacle “echoed the high-profile implosion...of the effort to hire Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead author of The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, for a job at the journalism school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” to the top
19 Benno Schmidt, Who Shook Up Yale and CUNY, Passes Away Benno C. Schmidt Jr., who led two major American institutions—Yale University and the City University of New York—has died at the age of 81. Schmidt began his career as a wunderkind scholar of constitutional law, becoming a tenured professor at Columbia Law School at age 29. At 44, he was named president of Yale University, where he served from 1986 to 1992. When he arrived, the campus had fallen into disrepair and the school had a $15 million budget deficit. Schmidt undertook a massive renovation of university buildings as well as a $50 million investment in the development of New Haven, where Yale is located. He nearly doubled Yale’s endowment, from $1.7 billion to $3 billion. By 1998, the City University of New York had fallen into “a very sad state” and Schmidt was asked by then mayor Rudy Giuliani to head a rescue task force. Over the next 17 years, first as vice-chairman and then as chairman of its board, he “gut renovated” the system: recruiting hundreds of new faculty members and establishing an honors college and several graduate schools. He also had stints in the K-12 sector, serving as president of Edison Schools and later as chairman of Avenues: The World School. Schmidt’s eclectic interests included country-western music and acting; he had bit parts in two Woody Allen films, Hannah and Her Sisters and Husbands and Wives. to the top
20 College Presidents Doing Cool Things Miami Dade College’s President Madeline Pumariega is leveraging the artificial intelligence revolution to make the city a tech hub for venture capital investments and putting Miami on the cusp of “a new era of student career success and faculty innovation.”
M. Brian Blake, Georgia State University’s first Black president, began writing his own code at an early age and, at 33, became America’s youngest Black professor of computer science. His journey eventually landed him in “the biggest office at Georgia State”; this has been called “one of the most remarkable rises in US higher education.”
Ben Vinson III will become Howard University's 18th president. Formerly he was provost at Case Western Reserve University and a historian of the African diaspora in Latin America. At Case, Vinson started an initiative, called Think Big, that garnered new health sciences partnerships and reinvigorated a college of lifelong learning. to the top
21 Short Stack In anticipation of Paideia Times’s new sister publication, PTWeekly, to be published on Substack in a few weeks, we offer below our Short Stack: the best clips in higher education and short excerpts. Enjoy.
The Discreditable Education Accreditors (National Review)
By Graham Hillard
How unelected partisans are gatekeeping education dollars…. University accreditation began as a voluntary practice in the late 19th century. …Had the federal government never involved itself in higher-ed financing, accreditation might have continued indefinitely as a discretional guild system.
The Race-Neutral Delusion (London Review of Books)
By Randall Kennedy
The worst thing about [Chief Justice John] Roberts’s opinion [about affirmative action], as I see it, is its insistence that constitutional law recognise no distinction between malign and benign racial discrimination, between derogatory and positive racial distinctions.
Transform College Access (The New Yorker)
By Jeannie Suk Gersen
After the fall of affirmative action, liberals and conservatives want to eliminate benefits for children of alumni. Could their logic lead to reparations?
Why the Left Hates Horatio Alger (The Wall Street Journal)
By Ira Stoll
It isn’t just about Clarence Thomas. Their ideology requires them to think the American dream is a lie.
Bring on the Counterrevolution (City Journal)
By Christopher F. Rufo
Conservatives need a national agenda that reclaims American institutions from the Left. A blueprint exists, from a surprising source.
How to Defeat Left-Wing Racialism (City Journal)
By Wade Miller, Dan Morenoff, Ilya Shapiro, David E. Bernstein, James Sherk, Judge Glock, Christopher F. Rufo
A symposium on restoring the principle of color blindness.
To Reverse the K–12 Civics Crisis, We Must Reform Higher Ed (National Review)
By Thomas Kelly
Some public universities are taking positive steps to educate future teachers and leaders in the fundamental knowledge of citizenship.
The Problem With Disabling (Discourse)
By Colleen Eren
How colleges—and the law—are impairing student education and resilience through too many accommodations…. Upon further research I have found that the increase in the number and scope of accommodations ... reflects recent changes to the ADA Amendments Act that expand the definition of what is a disability to the point of being meaningless—changes that have opened the door to accommodations that fundamentally change course structure, content and assessments.
Careers Open to Talent (Law & Liberty)
By Leonidas Zelmanovitz
Merit should be the only consideration in the college admission process.
It is true, individuals are widely different in their abilities, with some individuals more suitable for intellectual work than others, but the distribution of intellectual aptitude among the population has nothing to do with the appearance of the individuals, with skin pigmentation, or, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome.
From this general observation, we can move to a more specific one, the purpose of higher education should be excellence in producing new knowledge and transmitting existing knowledge to future generations.
The First Thing You Learn at Harvard (The Glenn Show)
Hosted By Glenn Loury
My guest this week, the journalist Jay Caspian Kang, has been following the Students for Fair Admissions cases for the better part of a decade as they’ve wound their way through the courts…. As Jay sees it, one of the major problems the case revealed is that Harvard (along with many other selective schools) favored those who claimed to suffer trauma due to their race, especially if they were black or Latino, no matter how objectively privileged they were. In essence, students who could play the role of “victim of systemic racism,” no matter their actual lived experience,
What if We’re the Bad Guys Here? (The New York Times)
By David Brooks
Donald Trump seems to get indicted on a weekly basis. Yet he is utterly dominating his Republican rivals in the polls, and he is tied with Joe Biden in the general election surveys.
1619 Rightly Understood (First Things)
By Wilfred M. McClay
The opportunity that the 1619 Project missed: “If we take 1619 as the beginning of the African influence on America, that is, on the actual land that would become the United States of America a century and a half later, then that influence antedates the arrival of the Mayflower, the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the creation of Plymouth Plantation, and so much else that we associate with the beginnings of America. And yet . . . before all of this, ‘we were here.’”
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22 What Admissions Can Learn From Athlete Recruiting The end of affirmative action is an opportunity to redesign the whole admissions system, with colleges taking a lesson from the athletic department. Coaches fly around the country in search of the most gifted athletes and build relationships that encourage students to attend their schools and join their teams. In the same vein, why not do the same for young scholars? What if instead of asking students to find the “right” schools, we brought college to students? The University of Virginia, for instance, has announced a plan to target 40 high schools in the state that have little history of sending applications to the flagship campus. Nine states, including California, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Florida, and New Hampshire, have already banned race-conscious admissions. In California and Michigan, for instance, the public flagships have adopted new recruiting approaches that focus on developing extensive high-school counseling and academic outreach efforts aimed at low-income communities and starting conversations with prospective students early in their school careers. to the top
23 Florida May Become First State to Accept SAT/ACT Alternative If the Florida Board of Governors approves it, Florida would become the first public university system in the nation to accept the “Classic Learning Test,” or CLT, as an alternative to the SAT and ACT. Created in 2015, the CLT is rooted in a teaching model that emphasizes the humanities, morality, and classical literature. The standardized exam has become popular among conservatives and is now accepted by more than 200 predominantly private universities. Earlier this year, the College Board announced it would pull its Advanced Placement Psychology class from Florida schools, citing conflicts with the state’s Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. In Florida, students are prohibited from learning about sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom, which according to the College Board, are core components of the AP Psychology course. The organization refused to change the curriculum, and the future of the course appeared to be in jeopardy until Florida Education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., informed school superintendents that students will be able to take the class “in its entirety,” but only if the course is taught “in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate.” to the top
24 The Supreme Court Restricts the Use of Affirmative Action in College Admissions In a landmark—but long expected—ruling on two related cases, the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 29, effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions as we’ve known it. The highest court in the land ruled that the race-conscious admissions policies practiced by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The ruling was 6–3 against UNC and 6–2 against Harvard. The votes were split along ideological grounds, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the conservative members in the majority, and the liberals dissenting. While the Court banned the use of racial quotas in admissions, it didn’t close the door entirely on racial considerations. According to a new survey, slightly more than half of Americans—52 percent—approve of the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict the use of race as a factor in college admissions; 32 percent disapprove. Universities are still free to consider race-neutral alternatives that correlate with race or that advance the goal of racial diversity—for instance, instead of considering the race of the applicant, universities can consider the racial demographics of the applicant’s high school or the neighborhood the applicant grew up in. Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, expects five years of chaos before higher education fully adjusts to the new legal landscape, as schools explore new ways to maintain diversity. to the top
25 Will Essays Become a New Loophole to Ask About Race? Although the Supreme Court affirmative action ruling narrowed the use of race in admissions, it left some wiggle room where students can still discuss their race in application essays, which experts say will become an increasingly important part of the application process. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration or otherwise.” But he went on to warn that colleges should not use personal statements as a backdoor way to ask students about their race and admit them on that basis. Some experts predict the Court’s decision will put an “extra burden” on essays in admissions evaluations. Harvard, which was at the center of the lawsuit, has already replaced last year’s single optional essay with five required short essays, designed to allow the admissions committee to see each applicant as a “whole person.” to the top
26 After the Supreme Court Ruling: What Comes Next? Liberal justices Sonia M. Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson slammed the Supreme Court majority’s affirmative action decision, writing in dissents that the ruling would have devastating effects on equity in higher education. Brown Jackson didn’t mince words, calling the ruling “a tragedy for us all.” But ultimately the Court’s ruling on affirmative action could make little difference for the average college student. Most students—of all races—who apply to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard University, and other elite institutions are rejected in any case. At UNC, only two in ten applicants were admitted for the fall of 2021, according to the most recent federal data. The odds of enrolling at Harvard were even slimmer: just 4 percent. In an analysis done by The Chronicle of Higher Education, of 3,160 degree-granting two- and four-year institutions across the country, only 68—or 2 percent—admit less than 25 percent of applicants. Another study, however, found that states that have already banned race-conscious admissions, like California and Michigan, noted a “cascade effect,” where the most selective public universities saw an immediate drop-off in Black, Hispanic, and Native American enrollment, causing less selective schools to see an uptick in those same demographics. to the top
27 Legacy Admissions Come Under Fire America’s most selective colleges are facing growing calls to abolish the practice of giving admissions priority to the relatives of alumni. The “legacy” preference, as it is known, is firmly entrenched in higher education, especially at private colleges, and experts say eliminating it is easier said than done. A Washington Post analysis found that at more than 100 selective schools, including the entire Ivy League, alumni-applicant relationships are considered in admissions decisions. Critics call the practice “reverse affirmative action.” Several studies have shown that legacy admissions overwhelmingly favor wealthy and white applicants, benefiting such students over applicants of color and other disadvantaged groups. While some highly selective universities and colleges have dropped legacy admissions— including Amherst, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, and recently Wesleyan University—most are reluctant to give up the practice, arguing that it helps build a strong intergenerational community and encourages alumni donations that fund scholarships and financial aid. Nonetheless, most Americans are firmly against it. A Pew Research Center survey found that 75 percent of respondents believe that legacy status should not be a factor in college admissions. to the top
28 Harvard’s Legacy Admissions Challenged by Civil Rights Group In another sign of the mounting pressure on legacy admissions, a civil rights group, Lawyers for Civil Rights, has filed a complaint with the Education Department, alleging that Harvard’s admission system violates the Civil Rights Acts because it “disproportionately advantage[s] white applicants.” The group, which represents three Black and Latino groups—the Chica Project, African Community Economic Development of New England, and the Greater Boston Latino Network—claims the Ivy League school grants special privileges to mostly white applicants—“not because of anything they have accomplished, but rather solely because of who their relatives are.” Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the government could order Harvard to cease such practices or lose access to federal money. But such determinations are “exceptionally rare,” according to a former deputy assistant secretary in the Education Department’s civil rights office. Congressional Democrats Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York have reintroduced a bill that would ban colleges from giving preference in admissions to children of alumni and donors. The bill would block colleges that offer legacy seats from participating in federal financial aid programs. to the top
29 Affirmative Action for the 1 Percenters According to a new study, children from families in the top 1 percent (defined as earning more than $611,000 a year) are 34 percent as likely to attend an “Ivy-Plus college”—the eight Ivy League universities as well as Stanford, MIT, Duke, and the University of Chicago—as those from middle-class families with comparable SAT/ACT scores. And those from the top 0.1 percent are more than twice as likely to get in. As public pressure mounts, a handful of colleges say they will end legacy preferences, including University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, Carnegie Mellon University, and Wesleyan University. Critics say dropping legacy admissions might be just a good PR move. Wesleyan, for instance, never heavily favored legacy applicants to begin with. Only about 5 percent of admitted freshmen were the children of alumni. And only about half of them ended up attending Wesleyan. It’s a conundrum for the wealthiest private universities, like Princeton and Harvard, which couldn’t begin to maintain their operations on tuition alone. At Harvard, tuition revenue pays only 21 percent of operating costs, which begs the question: Who would we rather have funding elite institutions: wealthy people whose families have histories at these schools or corporations and foreign governments? to the top
30 Biden Administration Issues Guidance on Affirmative Action The Biden administration, in its first guidance on how to handle the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action, offered colleges and universities a road map for how to maintain diversity while abiding by the court decision. The Departments of Education and Justice—which released the guidance together in what is known as a “Dear Colleague” letter, accompanied by a questions-and-answers document—urged colleges to maintain or create pipeline programs to prepare and recruit a diverse student body. However, the letter did not address some of the more contentious issues around the court’s decision, including how it would apply to hiring, student scholarships for particular racial groups, and potential conflicts between state and federal policies. Speaking at a summit hosted by the Department of Ed, Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary in the department’s Office for Civil Rights, urged college leaders to continue pushing for racial equity in admissions through lawful means, asserting that the Supreme Court’s ruling “did not question the educational value of diverse student bodies.” to the top
31 Affirmative Action Battle Moves to Scholarships and Financial Aid Universities in two states, Kentucky and Missouri, will no longer take race into account in awarding scholarships in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on affirmative action. Though the decision didn’t address scholarships, the University of Kentucky and the University of Missouri System have already said they would remove race as a consideration in scholarship programs. Other colleges are expected to follow suit. Elsewhere, the dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s law school said that “race-based scholarships are not going to be allowed.” In keeping with the state’s ban on affirmative action, scholarships can be awarded based on financial need or merit but not race. A private donor or foundation could create scholarships to benefit students based on race, but Berkeley couldn’t administer that fund. Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the two universities defending race-conscious admissions before the high court, said the university will provide free tuition and cover required fees for incoming undergraduates from the state whose families make less than $80,000 a year. The pledge will take effect for new students in fall 2024. to the top
32 Texas Legislature Votes to Keep Tenure But Bans DEI One of Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick’s priorities for the state’s 2023 legislative session was to dismantle tenure. He almost got his wish. The Texas Senate passed a bill that would have eliminated tenure throughout the state. Weeks later, however, the House voted to preserve tenure in a modified form. As originally passed, the measure would have barred public colleges and universities from granting tenure in the future. Under the final bill, which was effective on Sept. 1, responsibility for evaluating tenure and tenured professors now rests with university boards. They will decide how they grant tenure, how they evaluate tenured faculty and the reasons a tenured professor can be terminated. Patrick was more successful with another legislative priority: eliminating university offices for diversity, equity, and inclusion. On January 1, 2024, Texas will join Florida in banning DEI activities at the state’s public universities. All hiring practices must be “color-blind and sex-neutral.” Institutions will be barred from having or creating DEI offices, hiring employees to conduct DEI work, or requiring any DEI training as a condition for being hired or admitted. to the top
33 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs Face Growing Scrutiny Diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and offices have been around for decades, operating just below detection on many campuses. But after the death of George Floyd in May 2020 came growing demands for greater racial equity and justice, and DEI positions increased by 55 percent. Three years later, however, anti-DEI legislation is sweeping the country. So far, 34 bills have been introduced in 20 states to ban DEI initiatives in colleges and universities. A bill under consideration in Iowa would require the state system to disband its DEI programs. A proposed bill in Missouri would ban the use of DEI statements by universities in admissions and faculty hiring, while the North Carolina and South Carolina legislatures seem to be taking steps to reign in their DEI programs. “It’s a red-alert emergency” for anyone who cares about academic freedom, higher education, and democracy, said the president of the American Association of University Professors. Even DEI practitioners themselves, however, are now raising concerns that this growing multibillion-dollar industry was embraced “so quickly that due diligence was skipped and costly failures guaranteed.” to the top
34 Sex Abuse Survivors File New Lawsuits Against Michigan State and Ohio State Victims of convicted sex offender Larry Nassar have filed a new lawsuit against Michigan State University, alleging that university leaders violated transparency laws by deciding behind closed doors to withhold 6,000 documents related to the Nassar case. In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after scores of girls and women, including Olympic gymnasts, testified that they suffered sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment by the former university and USA Gymnastics doctor. The university agreed to pay $500 million to settle the lawsuits. The scandal also led to the resignations of MSU’s president and athletic director, as well as a tearful apology from the board of trustees. In related news, the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for more than 100 men to sue Ohio State University over alleged decades-old sexual abuse by the late Richard Strauss, who was a medical doctor at the school from 1978 to 1998. Without comment, the court rejected an appeal from the university, which had argued that the lawsuits exceeded the statute of limitations. The victims, however, accused the university of “deliberate indifference to sex crimes,” with many saying they didn’t know the full extent of the school’s involvement in a cover-up until 2019. to the top
35 FedEd Delays Release of Title IX Final Regulations The U.S. Department of Education has delayed releasing the final versions of its two Title IX regulatory proposals. Initially, they were expected in May, but the department is giving itself more time to review the 240,000-plus comments it received on the proposals. Title IX is the federal law banning sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools. One proposed Title IX rule would broaden the types of sexual assault reports colleges need to investigate, including those that occurred off campus. The other rule would block categorical bans on transgender athletes playing on teams that match their stated gender identity. A date has not yet been set publicly, but policy experts believe the department will finalize both Title IX rules in October and have them come into force next year, before the start of the 2024–25 academic calendar. This would allow colleges time to digest new complex regulatory requirements without having them take effect in the middle of an academic year. Sexual assault survivors, however, say the department isn’t moving fast enough. to the top
36 The Verdict is in on Debt Relief The day after its high-profile and much-anticipated ruling on affirmative action, June 30, the last day of this year’s session, the Supreme Court, by a 6—3 margin, ruled the Biden administration’s multi-billion-dollar student debt relief plan unconstitutional, reigniting the debt relief debate and leaving millions of student borrowers once again grappling with an uncertain future. After a three-year pandemic-driven pause on student loan payments, 26 million applicants learned that they will not receive the permanent debt relief they had hoped for—the relief then candidate Biden promised during his campaign. In the wake of the decision Biden announced alternative relief measures, vowing to “stop at nothing” to roll out new options, including a 5 percent income payment cap for undergraduate borrowers, and a “12-month on-ramp” repayment program designed to provide extended relief to borrowers who cannot make their payments and giving the education secretary power to compromise, waive, or release federal student loans outside of a national emergency. to the top
37 Revamped Payment Programs Offer New Hope for Borrowers In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to reject widespread student loan forgiveness, changes to Income-Driven Repayment plans (IDRs) along with a revamp of other existing repayment programs may bring a new wave of relief to millions of weary borrowers. Embattled student loan borrows took a collective punch to the gut when the Supreme Court rejected the loan forgiveness plan last June. President Biden, however, has vowed to use existing policies to offer relief to the millions of borrowers who are struggling with student debt, beginning with the over 800,000 borrowers who are already enrolled in IDR programs, many already seeing relief become a reality. A new IDR, Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, allows borrowers to qualify for lower monthly payments, have interest waived, and potentially be granted earlier loan forgiveness—as early as 10 years for those with less than $12,000 in debt. Borrowers enrolled in other existing repayment programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Permanent Disability Discharge, and the over 300,000 students who were defrauded or misled by a college will also see new opportunity for relief. The Borrower Defense to Repayment program, offering help for students who were defrauded, primarily by for-profit institution, are included in the over $116.6 billion already forgiven by the Biden administration through revamped existing repayment programs. to the top
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