Accreditation and Religious Colleges

From First Thoughts

In an essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education—my industry’s trade journal—Penn’s Peter Conn argues that the regional accrediting agencies, which hold the keys to federal student aid, should under no circumstances give religious colleges and universities their imprimatur. To say the least, Professor Conn is hostile to religion and appears to be utterly unacquainted with what happens on most “faith and learning” infused campuses. Continue Reading »

Higher Education and Social Mobility

From First Thoughts

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni reflects on a new documentary about various crises in American higher education. The only solution he proffers is more public funding. He would have our grandchildren pay for our children’s education, which is, I think, a non-starter. There are better ways. Continue Reading »

Defending Commencement Follies?

From First Thoughts

Defending her successors, a Smith College alumna argues that protesting a commencement speaker or protesting at commencement fulfills the goals of a Smith Education. I find her choice of words revealing and her failure to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate occasions for dialogue troubling. Continue Reading »

Ending the Commencement Follies

From First Thoughts

The intolerance displayed by faculty and students over commencement speakers has to be brought to an end. Doing so requires courage on two fronts. First, the administrators who superintend to the process whereby speakers are chosen have to adhere to it and defend it. Second, when speakers are uninvited or withdraw, men and women of character and principle ought to refuse to take their place. Continue Reading »

Charity for Unbelievers

From First Thoughts

A friend called my attention to this piece, asserting the waning of “fundamentalism.” Or is it the growth of atheism? Here’s how it begins: Days may be dark right now—after all, as the memes proclaim,  axial tilt is the reason for the season. But things are looking . . . . Continue Reading »

Polling Christmas

From First Thoughts

The Public Religion Research Institute has just released a survey about American attitudes toward Christmas. The highlights: A plurality of those surveyed favored merchants’ use of the generic “Happy Holidays” greeting rather than the more explicit “Merry Christmas.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Bold Atheism?

From First Thoughts

Jennifer Michael Hecht laments the fact that so few current public officeholders—-by one count, only five—-have professed their lack of faith. Indeed, it’s almost a mystery to her why more haven’t. After all, we have—-by her lights, at least—-a long and . . . . Continue Reading »