what is higher ed coming to?

We’ve all heard the recent claims by the likes of Ann Coulter that America’s universities are too liberal and too out-of-touch, that more conservative faculty need to be hired, and that far-out professors with unpopular views, like Ward Churchill, need to be quarantined away from our impressionable children. Well, today’s Washington Post follows the idea as it ripples down to the level of individual Americans struggling to send their children through school. With lots of examples of seemingly pointless courses like, “Pornography and Evolution,” and responses from shocked parents, the article reads like a John Stossel piece. (The article in the Post is even entitled, “Hey, Profs, Come Back to Earth“.)

I was going to get indignant and say something about academic freedom, and how the argument shouldn’t be about whacky out-of-the-mainstream faculty with tenure, or the occasional silly course title, but about the role of government in assuring affordable education for all Americans who aspire to pursue it… but then I got this email from a college student in Illinois and it became clear to me that perhaps there really is something truly wrong with the higher ed in our country. Here’s the note:

Where can I find your biography? I’m quoting you in a class, and I don’t really know your history.

One wonders just what he’s quoting, and how much his parents are paying to make it possible.

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  1. Teddy Glass
    Posted April 12, 2005 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I believe UI has a “Pubic Grooming 101” course that’s required of all incoming freshmen. My guess is that he will be reading one of your many fine selections on the art and zen of ball-shaving.

  2. [steph]
    Posted April 12, 2005 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    My boyfriend did a presentation (and wrote a paper) on you and Crimewave for a class this semester. It was a magazine publishing class. He found all the information he needed on the internet, so clearly this other student isn’t trying hard enough…

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