Posts Tagged ‘colleges and universities’

Schools roundup

A new screen for religious-school tax exemption?

In 1983 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Bob Jones University in South Carolina could be denied an otherwise applicable tax exemption because of its then policy of forbidding interracial dating among its students; since then, despite much speculation, there has not been widespread yanking of exemptions from other institutions over widely disfavored or execrated but otherwise not unlawful internal policies. Now an exchange between Justice Samuel Alito and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, at Tuesday’s oral argument in the gay marriage cases, is raising some eyebrows. Verrilli’s comments, if seen as reflecting considered Obama administration policy, might be seen as leaving the door open to wider denial of exemptions. [Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post; Michael Greve, Library of Law and Liberty]

“Rejecting the assassin’s veto,” PEN to honor Charlie Hebdo

And very appropriately, too. But at least six literati, including Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, and novelist and New Yorker contributor Teju Cole, have withdrawn from next month’s gala to express distaste for the murdered cartoonists, a gesture about which Matt Welch has a few comments. More: New York Times, AP. And from fatwa target Salman Rushdie, who knows a thing or two about this topic:

“If PEN as a free speech organization can’t defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organization is not worth the name,” Mr. Rushdie said. “What I would say to both Peter and Michael and the others is, I hope nobody ever comes after them.”

Meanwhile, Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, has canceled an event on Charlie Hebdo, the university delicately citing a lack of “risk assessment.” [Channel 4, Belfast Live]

Beyond the U. Va. scandal: will courts disallow feds’ rule by “Dear Colleague” letter?

The crackdown on college grievance procedures by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) paved the way for such developments as the administrative panic at the University of Virginia following Rolling Stone’s bogus assault article. I’ve got some thoughts at Cato about how the OCR crackdown grows out of a type of federal agency power grab — rule by “Dear Colleague” letter, sometimes known as sub-regulatory guidance or stealth regulation — that did not begin with this issue. As federal agencies have learned how to wield broad regulatory power without having to go through the formal regulatory process with its legal protections for affected parties, the courts have begun to apply skeptical scrutiny — which could open up one avenue of challenging the federal guidelines. Earlier on subregulatory guidance/stealth regulation here, here, etc. More: related from John Graham and James Broughel, Mercatus.

Higher education roundup

  • After collapse of Rolling Stone article on alleged University of Virginia gang rape, who might prevail in a libel suit against whom? [Volokh] Someone with much to answer for: UVa president Teresa Sullivan [Glenn Reynolds]
  • Much-discussed Judith Shulevitz piece on campus climate [New York Times] John McWhorter challenges the White Privilege 101 curriculum [The Daily Beast]
  • Ithaca College gets in the swing of the federal guidance with its own anonymous microaggression snitchline [Greg Lukianoff]
  • Lawyer for University of Rochester “Demands Yik Yak Take Down Posts, Turn Over User Info” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
  • Academic-purity group backed by Greenpeace and AFT urges activists to “expose and undermine” professors and campus research centers that work against “progressive values.” [Kim Strassel, WSJ; related earlier] (& welcome Instapundit readers)
  • NLRB decision in Pacific Lutheran University case could menace private colleges by herding more faculty into unions [Charles Baird, Pope Center]
  • University of Texas still covertly doing race preferences, and SCOTUS should step in, argues Cato brief [Ilya Shapiro] Related: “U. of Texas’ Chief Might Have Exposed Its Admissions Policy to New Supreme Court Challenge” [Chronicle of Higher Education] University of Texas and legislature “Just Keep Digging That Wallace Hall Hole Deeper for Themselves” [Dallas Observer]

Serial complainants at the Department of Education

“Complaints of discrimination to the [Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights] have soared from 6,364 in fiscal 2009 to a record of 9,989 in the most recent fiscal year.” [Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post] Most notable sentence concerning that surging caseload: “Two individuals were responsible for filing more than 1,700 of those allegations of [education] sex discrimination.”

Related: how OCR acquires and uses financial leverage over academia [Hans Bader, CEI via Amy Alkon (“a bigger threat to innocent students is the massive financial risk colleges face if they do not swiftly expel accused students … Moreover, even when no court would award damages, OCR will. It has recently given itself the power to award monetary damages against colleges, even in situations where the Supreme Court’s Davis decision says damages would be inappropriate under the Constitution’s spending clause.”)]

Schools roundup

  • Has it gotten too easy to breach the ordinary protections of academic freedom by charging that research is unethical? [Alice Dreger, Retraction Watch; The Guardian with more on complaints against University of Queensland economist over Brisbane, Australia bus study]
  • “Good reformist energy in NYC to decriminalize student misbehavior. Big, unreported obstacle? School security guards are all NYPD personnel.” [Chase Madar on Twitter]
  • “What is Obama’s big idea regarding day care? Well, to make it even more expensive” [Nick Gillespie citing Abby Schachter]
  • “Why no one, but no one, trusts a campus sexual assault proceeding.” [Judith Shulevitz; Volokh (16 Penn Law profs)] Remarkable story of student investigated because he reminded woman of man who had attacked her thousands of miles away [Janet Halley/Harvard Law Review, see text between footnotes 23 and 24 near end, but interesting throughout] Two views of new advocacy film The Hunting Ground [David Edelstein, New York; Lizzie Crocker, Daily Beast]
  • We never followed up at the time on what happened in the 2008 Billy Wolfe bullying story out of Fayetteville, Ark., but suffice it to say it’s not flattering to New York Times coverage [Eighth Circuit 2011 opinion; earlier here, here, and here]
  • Quaker schools in United Kingdom resist mandate that all schools teach “fundamental British values” [Guardian] Non-Oxbridge universities to be brought into line rather sharply on teach-against-terror agenda [Chris Bertram, Crooked Timber]
  • How does your pension compare? “Nearly 5,000 [New York] teachers cashing in on six-figure pensions” [New York Post]

Free speech roundup

  • “Victory for ‘Caveman’ Blogger in Free Speech Fight – the right to give advice about what to eat” [Institute for Justice, earlier]
  • “Is an academic discussion of free speech potentially traumatic?” Given campus trends, it might soon be [Wendy Kaminer]
  • Logic of rejecting heckler’s veto points likewise to rejecting its savage cousin, terrorists’ veto [Ronald Collins]
  • Someone tried to yank a Minnesota urbanist’s engineering license because of things he wrote on his blog. It didn’t work [Strong Towns; compare first roundup item]
  • Departing NPR ombudsman would take free speech law back to ’50s, and that means 1850s not 1950s [Volokh, earlier]
  • The last time I saw Paris, it was making a fool of itself in litigation [Mediaite, Huffington Post, earlier on city’s threats to sue Fox]
  • Argentina: state uses control over soccer broadcasts to beam propaganda denouncing opposition [David Kopel] “Dissenting voices silenced in Pakistan’s war of the web” [Jon Boone, Guardian]

Schools roundup

  • “Teacher keeps job despite ‘unsatisfactory’ rating 6 years in a row” [New York Post; and one reaction that speaks volumes about attitudes at Media Matters for America]
  • Cathy Young interviewed the accused (cleared by university and police) in Columbia “mattress” case and reports on the message traffic between him and accuser [The Daily Beast; Daniel Garisto, Columbia Daily Spectator (“we, the members of the campus media, failed specifically with Sulkowicz’s story by not being thorough and impartial” in part because of social pressure against pro-due-process viewpoints)]
  • Redouble whippings till morale improves: Obama seeks big hike in Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) budget [Robby Soave, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hans Bader] Theory assigns big role to OCR: “the resurgence of P.C. has actually been orchestrated from the top down.” [Jason Willick, Stanford Political Journal]
  • Faculties have resigned governance questions to “University Life” bureaus, which often place less value on academic freedom [Todd Zywicki, Pope Center] “Graduate school eliminates use of titles like ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’ in salutations and correspondence” [Alexandra Zimmern, The College Fix on CUNY Graduate Center]
  • NLRB ropes religious institutions’ faculty into federal labor law regime [Joseph Knippenberg, Law and Liberty, parts one, two]
  • “Students of ‘predatory’ school to get loan forgiveness” [Miami Herald, Everest U.]
  • When researchers interview jihadis, should they get a “project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense” disclaimer/warning under human-subjects-protection rules? [IRB Blog]

Schools roundup

  • Illinois school district warns parents that in doing investigations under new cyber-bullying law it may require students to hand over their Facebook passwords [Vice Motherboard; earlier on “cyber-bullying”]
  • Powerful, from Christina Hoff Sommers: how a shoddy NPR / Center for Public Integrity campus-rape study fueled legal fury of Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division [The Daily Beast; more, Bader] Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge and prominent progressive voice, on due process for college accused [American Prospect] Questions for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [KC Johnson, Minding the Campus]
  • Smith College: “the word crazy was censored from the transcript, replaced with the term ‘ableist slur.'” [Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe]
  • “Community College Courtesy of the Federal Taxpayer? No Thanks” [Neal McCluskey, Arnold Kling]
  • “Families Of Two Newtown Victims Sue Town And School Board” [CBS Connecticut via Skenazy; recently on suits against gun businesses]
  • More coverage of open records requests as way to go after ideologically disliked professors [Inside Higher Ed, our take last month]
  • Washington Post piece went viral, but it’s dead wrong: “No, A Majority of US Public School Students are Not In Poverty” [Alex Tabarrok] Look, a not-yet-published paper that claims to confirm something many of us want dearly to believe about school finance. But will it have the staying power of Prof. Hanushek’s? [WaPo “WonkBlog”]