Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Which schools to support 

As you probably can tell, we're having a harder time getting around to blogging; we're in the final week of classes and grading takes precedent over blogging. Nevertheless, the debate over differential tuition/price discrimination continues. Today's rant from a management professor:
The budgetary issues are being framed as though Minnesota does not have enough money to properly support SCSU or higher education for its poorer citizens. This is nonsense. If Minnesota truly wanted or needed to economize on higher education expenditures, then it would close higher cost-lower quality higher education institutions and shift students to lower cost-higher quality institutions such as SCSU. Minnesota would end up with fewer but higher quality state universities and more community colleges from which students could transfer. Thus increasing tuition at SCSU instead of closing higher cost state universities is simply an effort to force SCSU students to subsidize higher cost higher education at other institutions. This sounds a lot like a pork barrel in which the critical choices are conveniently hidden from the electorate.
Sounds good and the argument against cross-subsidies makes some sense, but the statement is factually challenged. This site has information on costs of providing programs; while it's easy to say the data are flawed (try it: "the ... day... tah ... arr ... flawd ..." see how easy that was?) they should be sufficient for comparisons within the system. Bemidji State does pretty poorly, others are within a couple hundred dollars per student, and by his logic we should get out of the general education/lower division coursework business at any rate. Some community and technical colleges are generating those credits for $1000 less.

But are they the same courses? Do we really want our students going for a B.A. degree to go to the community colleges for all their lower division coursework? We do not want people arguing that a course is a course is a course.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

"There's been a murder. Round up the usual coalitions." 

The end of the school year is upon us, and after many years I've simply concluded that this, the last week before finals, is loony week at any campus. A local radio station here, known as "The Power Loon" (AOR or "classic rock" format -- notice I can no longer call it "oldies" without self-incrimination) has run a billboard with a barely-dressed young woman's backside, hip cocked, holding a guitar, with the slogan "Now turn us on." As you might guess, many in the university are not happy.

And as you might guess, one person posts to the discuss list, "The billboard is not good for our children to see." Yes, silly First Amendment mustn't get in the way of protecting the children. (Same for the Second.) So they form a "Community Coalition Against Sexism". Every thing that offends around here seems to create some coalition against this or that. What's next?

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Colleges get price discrimination 

The debate raging around campus of late is differential tuition. Proposals range from an extra $15 for upper division credits to a surcharge for the business school's courses that could cost a full-time student an additional $750 a year. A fellow economist in my department has been commenting on the discuss list, and of course to economists differential tuition makes sense because it tends to make things more efficient.

But we typically teach in economics that we charge different prices for courses to different groups because the demand for courses by the two groups differ. We call it "price discrimination". The one in higher demand (and less elastic, for you other economists reading this) should get the higher price. We tend to justify differential tuition in terms of costs, but this strikes me as the argument that sports teams raise prices because player salaries rose. It's wrong because it's not a marginal cost (at least not if you view ticket pricing as an annual event rather than pricing for renewable season tickets -- if you do the latter, the problem's trickier, but that's getting far afield.) My friends in astronomy may want to charge differentials for tuition to support their expensive equipment, but they will only be able to do that if astronomy degrees are sufficiently attractive and their prospective majors see few good substitutes around campus or elsewhere.

As I teach to my principles of economics students, all scarce goods get rationed somehow. If you decide not to use price as the rationing mechanism, then something else fills the bill. It can be first-come, first-served, or class ranking or credits completed. It can be a tie-in sale (you only get this class if you're a major). You can ration by grades; many high-demand programs impose high GPA minima for entrance to the majors. In times of tight budgets like we're having here, it's not at all surprising that we would hear of plans to convert from non-price to price rationing.

There's also a nice catch to this. If you ask for lab fees, say, for your chemistry course, the fees are not included in the calculation for need-based financial aid. But differential tuition is counted, so it leads to offsetting increases in aid packages and no net-cost change at the point you make decisions on how many courses to take (you will have more loans to pay off later perhaps, but how sensitive are students to that change? Hard to say.)

Lastly, we find campus estimates are always based on existing students simply accepting changes in relative prices of classes without reaction. The argument against differential tuition is usually that it induces some students to choose degrees by price. Well of course they do; that's why I've spent six months shopping for the best place to send my son this fall. (He will not be going to SCSU.) Financial aid packages are just another form of price discrimination. (I recall a story of an economist whose son was accepted to an elite eastern school; father went to the admissions office to negotiate price, since "we all know it's price discrimination". He was shown the door.) People respond to incentives, as Steven Landsburg teaches, and students are going to change majors because of prices. How much is the empirical question of elasticity. Economics is a good substitute for a business degree, and we're not in the business school. So if they raise their price, I say that's meat on my plate ... if only the administration would give me knife and fork. (Which they should, lest they think it a good idea to give the business school more money to teach fewer students.)

I write the last to see if David is still reading.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Educational consulting 

I need a new consulting gig. A couple of weeks ago two fellows come through SCSU to discuss reorganization. Three days, one letter, three Microsoft charts, pay day. Very nice. I just found their rough draft.

Seriously, this reduces a bunch of administration in the academic side, but does not address the administrative side at all. (Here's our current organizational structure. Where's the rest of the organization in the consultant reports? They didn't touch them.) The collapsing of three colleges into one undoes a split we made in the mid-1980s. Actually, proposal two does nothing more than this. Given the large increase in the number of associate deans required to work with these larger academic units, cost savings is minimal. What it does, however, is threaten the deans on campus, a recurring theme with this president.

"Academic Distinction Priority Strategic Goal" 

You wonder sometimes if they use a random word generator. This is what they call the academic part of our strategic plan. So what is the goal?
I. St. Cloud State University will strive to provide a quality educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students.

A. The University will strive for excellence by providing a rich and diverse curriculum. Classes and programs will integrate diverse perspectives.

Rationale: Curriculum should provide both depth and breadth. Students must be able to understand issues in enough depth to argue a reasonable position and to address problems in their lives (workplace, family, community). Diversity of perspectives is one of SCSU's key values. We value breadth of education at the undergraduate level balanced by depth of knowledge in majors and minors.

Diversity of perspectives. Not diversity of thought. Diversity of thought is code for the other kind of diversity, which at least the goals are honest enough to admit.
H. Through recruitment and retention, the University will actively increase the numbers of students reflecting demographic diversity (domestic and global).
Research is mentioned only in item E., and even then no discussion of creating knowledge within our own disciplines by faculty alone is valued. Just as well; if they can't even get a name like "Academic Strategic Goal" right without putting in useless qualifiers -- what are "non-priority goals?" when is "non-distinction" a goal? -- it's unlikely they can write serious research either.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Career stepping 

The faculty member in this story which ran on local news recently is unhappy with the coverage. Faculty members got career step increases (as mentioned in previous post, it's in Article 11, section K) which are sizeable, and the video on the link shows that a large number of faculty received increases over $10,000. It's odd that Rep. Stang says he didn't read the contract closely enough -- it was negotiated a year before ratification.

What I think the investigation misses is that, according to proceedings in our Faculty Senate last month, the union was offered three packages, one of which included these career steps to deal with salary compression, the other two providing larger across-the-board increases. All of them cost roughly the same -- from what I am told, in fact, the one with the career steps was a million or so less. According to that discussion, it was the union's choice which of these packages to take; MnSCU was willing to settle on any of the three. The union elected to take the one with career steps (to the consternation of some younger faculty). So these steps did not cost the state any more than the contract proposals that were made without the step increases.

The last paragraph of the KSTP story is rank. There is not a single student interviewed on the video clip, nor has there been any article in the student-run University Chronicle that links tuition increases to faculty pay.

Twice-standardly deviant 

A colleague asked if I would comment on a salary equity study (click here and scroll to the bottom, please) that has been done for St. Cloud State. I confess at the outset the following: while I am an economist, labor economics isn't my forte; I have very incomplete information to work from (which is part of my complaint); and I am one of those types that views all statistics with serious skepticism (which I consider a good thing, but not everyone agrees.)

What bothered me as well as some friend is the following conclusion, found in slide 37 of this presentation (in .pdf):
  • Potential pay equity adjustments should be based on individual criteria rather than group membership criteria.
  • Pay equity issues should be addressed through an examination of disparities
    between actual and model predicted salaries (i.e., residuals).
    Using the variables identified in the total population model.

    Gender and ethnicity variables not included.

  • Any faculty member below a threshold (see next slide) will be eligible for a
    potential pay adjustment, if adjustments are recommended.
    We used the notion of a threshold (std error) due to the fact that there is a range of
    acceptable variation in the model not explained by the predictor variables. Therefore,
    adjustments to a predicted average salary are not recommended.

  • Potential pay equity adjustments will be scrutinized by a MnSCU/IFO salary
    review committee for data verification purposes.
Now there's something to like here, that people will be judged individually rather than members of a group. And the second bullet is standard operating procedure in these studies. But the last two? If someone lies outside some standard deviation banding, one, one-and-a-half, or two (to be bargained between union and administration) those below get paid. One colleague asked, what about the faculty who are at +2? Do they have their salaries frozen?

This would make sense, perhaps, if there was some evidence of inequity in pay by race or sex, but there's no evidence of that by 2002. (There was some evidence for 1997.) Over the entire MnSCU system, of the 72 people that lie outside -2 standard deviations, 48 are white males. So we are adjusting for pay equity on an individual basis, but without any understanding of how people got there; we are going to increase pay for people below the 1.5 or 2 standard deviation threshold without saying anything about the people above. That doesn't make much sense.

It would be nice to say more about the report, but the two reports lack much of the information needed to evaluate the quality of the studies. The consultants provide no evidence on whether the results are heteroskedastic or not, for instance (not at all uncommon, as I understand these types of studies to be). While they've examined proxy bias by checking the relationship between discipline and race or sex, they do no such check on the relationship between experience and race or sex. They claim there is no evidence of salary compression (for which we negotiated a huge increase in pay for people at 20 and 30 years of service in our last contract -- see section K), yet their results show $4560 additional salary received by those who are probationary versus those who are tenured. That result is consistent with the fact that faculty are hired in a competitive market but then are given pay increases based only on years of service -- no reference to market or merit. It could be consistent with something else, but there's no way to tell that from the reports, but it fits anecdotes on campus that the longer you're here, the more you are dragged down from what the market will bear. And of course only the good ones leave.

So I lack confidence in the study. I'm not convinced that anyone outside of the consultants have the statistical experience necessary to look at this. I'm not volunteering myself, as there are at least three members of my own department who are demonstrably more competent than me to do the job (though the decision should be based on comparative, not absolute advantage.) But before the university system starts doling out money on that basis, a closer look seems warranted.

How to cook a quorum 

Odd email this morning from the faculty association (union) president. (It so happens he's featured in today's local paper on the benefits of walking to work. Earth Day, don'cha know!) He asks for those who are not coming to Faculty Senate meetings to resign from the senate, so as to reduce the number of faculty needed to create a quorum "to get important business done" such as "the curriculum", grade appeals, workplace violence, etc.

If it is important business -- and what could be more important than a university's curriculum? -- do we really want a rump faculty senate pushing through things in a hurried fashion? It seems to me the current leadership is in a hurry to get things done to add to its list of accomplishments. And of course we'll all look in the fall and say, "When did we decide that?"

Act in haste, repent on the faculty discussion list.

UPDATE: It turns out the case of UCLA's faculty senate passing an antiwar resolution was also the result of quorum games.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Have I just been insulted? 

Michael Lopez asks "What sort of "cheat" would you (a) need and (b) expect to find on the internet for an economics book? It's not like these books have hard-core accounting in them." Doesn't he know? From the mighty JokEc page:
An economist returns to visit his old school. He's interested in the current exam questions and asks his old professor to show some. To his surprise they are exactly the same ones to which he had answered 10 years ago! When he asks about this the professor answers: "the questions are always the same - only the answers change!"

How many feet does this guy have to shoot? 

Yale's Jim Sleeper digs himself a bigger hole, trying to take on Hugh Hewitt in the letters section of the Weekly Standard online. (It's the first exchange.) Sleeper, whose antics we're reported about already, is trying to run away from his outrageous slam on coverage of a teach-in at Yale by two first-year students. Hewitt makes him stand still and thanks him for giving us another place to shine a flashlight on academia:
...the tenured and untenured left in the academy is profoundly unsettled by the arrival of "conservative network-warriors" on their campuses. The abuse of center-right students that has been a constant over the past 30 years can no longer occur in isolation, and alumni with checkbooks have begun to notice these antics.
MnSCU trustees, start frowning! See PowerLine for more coverage of another letter-writer who gets to taste Sleeper's "civility".

And this is an honors class 

I love teaching in our Honors program, as it gives me a chance to work with great students and be a little creative in the classroom. But I've never been this creative.
303-02 Guy Things: Men and Masculinity in America

This course will examine the many influences (e.g. parents, church, media, government, peers) that shape the gender identity of males as they grow from boyhood to manhood. We will analyze this process by utilizing readings, videos, and experiential approaches to excavate the messages both subtly and overtly given to boys and men which influence their development. Students taking this course will have the opportunity to connect theoretical and practical aspects of masculinity by engaging in a service and research project. Other assignments will involve media critiques and presentations, and reflecting personally on students' own socialization. Both men and women are encouraged to enroll and come ready to excavate assumptions about gender.

260-01 Earth in the Balance: Achieving Sustainable Global Development

In this seminar, we will explore the state of the world and critical social and environmental problems; examine factors (such as fossil fuel emissions, urbanization, wars, increasing population, and increasing consumption per capita) that contribute to these problems; and consider the role of international agencies such as the United Nations, the IMF and World Bank, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Proponents say that the policies of these organizations are part of the solution, whereas critics say that they only exacerbate the problems. As part of our exploration, we will compare a variety of perspectives as reflected in news articles and other media from countries around the world. The seminar will conclude by discussing ways that humankind can begin to repair ecological damage and achieve sustainable global development (i.e. improve the quality of life for people now without jeopardizing the quality of life for future generations).

250-01 Animal Ethics

Moral issues arising in our treatment of nonhuman animals. We will be looking at various answers to these and other questions: What is the moral status of animals? Do they have moral rights? Do we have moral obligations to animals? If so, what are they? Do animals feel pain? Are they conscious? Do they have desires and beliefs? What are the moral implications of attributing certain mental states to animals? Are humans morally required to abstain from eating animals? Always? Is it morally wrong to use them as subjects for scientific research and experimentation? Always? Is sport hunting immoral?

I've deleted names of professors, but you can view all the courses offered here. I found a flyer for the Guy Things course that leads with the question "Are you a REAL man? Do you know a REAL man? What does that even mean??!!" (Italics in original.) The course is a Women's Studies elective. (Is it a real Women's Studies elective?)

It's a pity that such cant has crept into the Honors curriculum. These students seek rigorous training and openly question assumptions in the classroom. I had a course there last fall, titled "Economic Development of the Last Millenium" that was as challenging a course as I've ever taught, because I had such good students making me work. It also had the advantage of providing an outlet for high-quality students to avoid the indoctrination within our own general education program. Now, however, they are being offered crash-courses in liberal ideology.

ADDED: FUZZY GENDER: Cold Spring Shops asks:

Economists please note: the text above makes clear the point that sex is a proxy for gender: when you call an explanatory variable "gender" rather than "sex" you have not removed an NC-17 rating from your paper.
Note that Stephen's April archive is not up right now, so scroll down further. And he points to this interesting post on gender differences, not likely to be part of the Honors class, I'd bet.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Putting your eggs in every basket 

We continue to see increased enrollment by minority students in the University of California system, says this article from the San Francisco Chronicle. Applications are at record highs. Yet all anyone can focus on is the number of students of color declining at UCLA and Berkeley.
Berkeley student Ronald Cruz, an organizer for a pro-affirmative action group called BAMN, said the latest figures from Berkeley and UCLA showed "growing resegregation . . . as black, Latino and Native American students are tracked to less prestigious schools. This is unacceptable in an increasingly diverse state like California."

Berkeley's director of undergraduate admissions, Pamela Burnett, said, "As the more competitive campuses become more competitive, it will be more difficult for under-represented students to be admitted in ever larger numbers than they are now."

Note that overall admissions are up, and nobody says anything about the other six UCs, just the elite two (and frankly, there's not much wrong with the other six). So why do we care that they sort evenly over all eight institutions? Is there anyone who cares whether they'll be successful? (First link courtesy Betsy's Page.)

Free speech and government money 

Eugene Volokh posts about a computer contract with the Defense Dept. that was cancelled. The catch is that the leader of the company had made anti-war statements, and contends that the contract was pulled because of his views. Volokh points out that there may well have been other reasons (the company has a number of foreign developers, with which the government may not want to share secrets), but that if the company's contention is correct, it is a violation of that company's speech rights. Would that we learn that lesson here: A local business leader had a letter to the editor of the local paper suggesting that state employee wages be frozen to help balance the state budget (such a proposal is already under consideration in the state legislature, causing much acrimony.) The leader of one of the university's unions circulated it with a call for stopping to do business with that firm. Once again, left-wing speech is the only speech that is protected. Someone who wants to ask government spending to be curtailed rather than pay higher taxes is not granted to same rights.

Today's required reading 

A colloquy from yesterday with Alan Charles Kors and Thor Halvorsson from the FIRE. A couple clips as teasers:
KORS:There is a categorical difference between a professor's introducing what the AAUP terms "extraneous materials" during a class, on the one hand, and, on the other, a professor's speaking on matters of public concern outside of the class. A professor has the right to teach what he or she believes true about the subject matter of a class, granting full rights to students to engage is reasoned and informed dissent and disagreement without penalty. Obviously, however, a professor teaching Latin grammar has no right to subject a captive audience---paying good money to study that subject---to his or her views for or against abortion, the war, or affirmative action. That is a terrible abuse of a classroom, and professors who say that "My teaching is an extension of my politics" should mean, ideally, that they believe critical thought and substantive knowledge to have a certain effect, in general, on society.

HALVORSSON:Critical debate and discussion are essential for the life of the mind in the university. There are passions in our open expressions and what is most important is that it should be left to public opinion, not to law, or in this case, to authority, to determine who is being offensive, or expressing a bigoted point of view. What is undeniable is that college and university campuses don't have enough political debate from genuinely pluralistic perspectives. It is necessary to encourage and welcome all sorts of views and opinions. Debate favors truth. And there is a demonstrable lack on the part of university administrations ... of a nurturing environment.

As always, read the whole thing.

Sad departure 

Justin Byma announces he's written his last article for the University Chronicle. It contains good suggestions like Jeff Foxworthy, how to deal with jugglers, and a new pizza value meal. And he wonders when democratic citizenship courses might include some mention of the alternatives.

Thanks for the columns, Justin! You'll be missed.

Poetry for a blustery April morning 

Nothing to do with education. Everything to do with life ... if you're a Red Sox fan.

This one had my screaming with laughter.

How the left treats free speech 

Hugh Hewitt does a great service showing the Left's hypocrisy today in the Weekly Standard. About a week ago two first-year students covered a teach-in for peace at Yale in a FrontPage online article. FrontPage has made a habit of covering left-wing cant on America's campuses. This has annoyed the Left greatly, and attacks on FrontPage are commonplace. So it comes as no surprise that one professor has attacked them in the Yale Daily News.
And when freshmen arrive here primed to attack professors in public, as two did in a recent article in Front Page, an online off-campus publication, I smell something worse than youthful exuberance, a neo-Stalinism wafting up not from SDS of the 1960s but from YCL of the 1930s -- the Young Communist League and its right-wing counterparts.
Ouch. Jim Sleeper then spends many paragraphs pining for the days when SDS engaged in protests with "civility". Hewitt dismisses this piffle by hoisting them on Sleeper on his own petard.
This sort of hypocrisy is difficult to swallow. Sleeper summons up the image of William Sloane Coffin Jr. as the perfect example of gentle activism, and then hammers undergraduates as terrorists.

Notice how the left quickly abandons its own self-professed ideals when confronted with publicity. Where are the Critical Legal Studies scholars to note that the power hierarchy of the university is being employed to silence first-year students? Where are the Women's Studies professors to note that an old white male is using verbal brickbats to silence young women seeking to be heard?

Help will not arrive from the usual suspects. Sleeper and his kind, however, are reminders of how far the campuses have slid into intellectual chaos. The absurd are tenured and the truth-tellers are freshmen. Alumni should take note. Is this where you want to invest your dollars?

My producer contacted Sleeper with an offer to appear on my radio program to discuss his article. "Sorry, I don't do radio interviews," he e-mailed back. What a surprise. Professor Sleeper only tackles freshmen.
This piece is a follow-on to the article we refered to on PowerLine, and they thank Hewitt as well. See also this reply to Sleeper from the Students for Democracy.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Grade inflation? 

This is too funny. (Hat tip: Justin Byma.)

More non-diverse "Diversity" 

Yet another article on how little diversity modern "diversity" advocates will allow. The irony of saying, with a straight face, "You will be diverse, and you will do it just like me" is beyond speaking.

Academic freedom means whatever I say it means is leading the defense on an attack on academic freedom at the University of California. Major sections of the code are removed which counsel faculty against proselytizing students. The university argues that these are covered by other sections. This is fundamentally disturbing news; I would ask people to read the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure to see how the academy has usually viewed classroom speech. Section (c) on academic freedom reads in full
College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.
See also the fifth element of their Statement on Ethics:
5. As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.
How far we've come. Go here to find out what you can do to stop this erosion of academic freedom from the new tyranny on our campuses.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"If you want free speech, barring hate speech doesn't work." 

This is the remarkable quote of Sheldon Hackney, the former president at Penn (and Clinton's choice for NEH president) who oversaw the famous "water buffalo" case ten years ago that spawned eventually the create of The FIRE and much of the work we have done since then. The quote appears in this retrospective in the Daily Pennsylvanian. Likewise, if you want tolerance, you don't send faculty to mandatory diversity training (see item 8c). However, that's what faces the faculty at SCSU. Perhaps they don't want tolerance. They want victory. (Link courtesy Critical Mass.)

The line of the week 

Actually happened last week, while I was away at a conference, but I think it will stand up for this week as well. Discussing an article on another of those tired denunciations of American victory in Iraq, this one at Yale, Power Line quotes Diana West:
[E]ven as the president's unwavering commitment to disarm Saddam Hussein has put liberty within reality's grasp in Iraq, it seems unlikely to put reality within academia's grasp in America.
The whole West article deserves a read. It was somewhat quaint today on campus, watching some young man blather on about knocking down doors to be heard that we must have peace. I thought I might mention that line about "knocking down doors for peace is like ... for virginity", but nice weather kept me mellow. (Link courtesy Cold Spring Shops.)

Monday, April 14, 2003

The brothers of liberty go WILD 

Thanks to Fraters Libertas for checking over our advertising for WILD week. They offer some commentary on the week's activities. Now if we could just improve their attitudes on SCSU hockey...

Welfare defense budgets 

As WILD week (which our CRs have dubbed "Wackos in Love With Dictators") week commences at St. Cloud State, it's worth understanding how we get to this point of supporting the troops but opposing the war. That point is covered in this piece in OpinionJournal, in which the author suggests that the Left views the Defense Department as an extension of the welfare budget.
To the antiwar left, then, the military is a social program that went awry. As long as it was giving and not taking, the idea of national defense was tolerable. Indeed, what other purpose could national defense serve besides job creation, since America's enemies were figments of the right's imagination? So the idea has been for Americans to get an income and training, but not, God forbid, actually to serve in combat.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Administrator takes a big stick to Saginaw Valley students 

We run a site that makes some people on our campus upset. We do so as an expression of our freedom of speech and as a place to find out some of the crap that passes for education and administration here at St. Cloud State. As faculty, we enjoy some rights -- and tenure never hurts! We count ourselves as fortunate that a more concerted effort to silence this site hasn't happened ... yet.

I reported a few weeks ago about a website set up by students at Saginaw Valley State that provided links a group of faculty who were using their classrooms to proselytize for the peace movement and encouraging faculty to cancel classes to increase attendance at a "teach-in". Erin O'Connor, from whom we got the initial link to SVSU, now reports that the chair of the English Department has silenced that site by threatening legal action. It seems at first implausible that she could do this, as there seems to be little legal standing for a case where someone claims to be defamed by someone providing links to websites and flyers written by the plaintiffs. Regardless, the students decided to do put down the site. See the statement by "svsu student" in the comments on Erin's page on 12 April.

Erin opines that the students may have been worried due to the successful busting of an anonymous site by administrators at Louisiana-Monroe. But the key in that case was anonymity. Blogspot need not worry about that with us. The administration knows who we are. And those who don't like this site at SCSU would have to do more than this puffer-fish of an English department chairwoman at Saginaw Valley, who would rather scare students out of their speech rights than consider the ethics of her own faculty.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Good topples evil 

At least for today, April 9, 2003 � a date second in global significance this new century only to September 11, 2001 � good has toppled evil. For Saddam�s regime, war has indeed proved to be the correct answer. The success of allied planning, power, precision, passion, perseverance, and . . . dare I say . . . prayer, should not be understated.

Tens of millions of Iraqi citizens today can openly weep for joy and express their yearnings for hope, freedom, and security, thanks in no small part to the scores of U.S. and U.K. forces who have given their lives in battle. May the names of each of those who have offered us the ultimate sacrifice be engraved forever in the hearts and minds of generations to come.

Certainly the days, weeks, months, years, and centuries ahead will be filled with continuing conflicts across the face of our fragile planet. But as we watch today�s new birth of Babylon, may we pray that the lessons of the past three weeks not be lost on all those who watchfully wait - for unknown days or millennia to come - for the rising of a new Jerusalem.

How can one satirize this? 

The campus liberals are at it yet again. This is perhaps a lot to post, but it might be valuable for people off campus to see how screwey things really are here and what their tax money is going for. Cripes, who would have guessed back in the old days when universities educated students that it would come to this. By the way, this was on the faculty announcement list, where the local chapter of the Associaiton of Scholars was criticized for being too "political" for announcing a meeting on traditional scholarship. Sigh.

SCSU Faculty and Staff: You are invited to WILD WEEK to experience and discuss a number of new videos, excellent speakers, and events during this week. I hope you will announce these to your classes, email them to others, and join us as we consider global issues of peace, justice, and the earth. We are also very supportive of the Hate Crimes Awareness Week and MECha events. Julie Andrzejewski

W.I.L.D. WEEK: World Issues/Local Dimensions

Peace, Justice, and the Earth!


Mike Chouinard spinnin' progressive tunes for KVSC 10:30-1 Atwood Mall

Campus Premiere of Wrestling with Manhood 12-2 N. Voyageurs

Panelists: Ilia Rodriguez, Marjie Fish, Roya Akhavan-Majid, Charles Derry, Tamrat Tademe, John Zimmerman, Ali Linman, Karen Fritz, Jamie Toenyan

Media Violence: How Are You Being Entertained? Wrestling with Manhood shows how the World Wrestling Federation encourages violence, sexism, homophobia, and sexual assault.

Media Analysis of Gulf War II 12-2 Atwood Kiosk

Watch and compare the differing coverage of the war in Iraq between Al Jazeera and US corporate owned media Presenters: Haider Lajami, Manaf Bashir from the Arab Student Organization

Killing to Dying: The Consequences of War 3-5:15 N. Voyageurs

Presenters: Hal Kimball, Chris Lavone, and Bri Duffy
Local Veterans present information on gulf war syndrome and the serious consequences for Gulf War veterans. We will inform the public about service member�s options (conscientious objection).


The Corporate Connection � Money and Politics 11-12 Sauk
Campus Premiere of Counting on Democracy

Presenters: Karla Mock, Heidi Pelke, Michelle Dick
Who really won the 2000 presidential election? Does your vote really count? The new documentary, Counting on Democracy, exposes illegal actions behind the 2000 presidential elections.

America Behind Bars 12-1 Watab

Panel: Michael Davis, Jessica Benning, Libby Luther, Jessica Wagner, Kristi Van Pelt, Justin Cappola
Why does the United States have more people in prison per capita than any other country in the world?
Who is in prison and who is benefiting?

Cruelty Free Grill Out: Do You LOVE Animals? Then Don�t Eat Them! 11-1 MALL
Come taste a free veggie burger and learn about the inhumane practices on factory farms!
Organized by Carly Sullivan, Rachael Dye, Jessica Appelholm, Tessa Loken

Are YOUR Clothes Made from SWEATSHOPS? 11-12:15 Atwood Mall

Bring your clothes from Wal-Mart, Tommy Hilfiger, The Gap, Old Navy, Disney, Limited, Guess, or Nike and DONATE THEM to Catholic Charities. Sign a Petition to Stop university LOGO clothes made in sweatshops!

PEACE: War is NOT the Answer!!! 1-2 Atwood Mall

Presenters: Bianca Rhodes, Dana Hendricksen, Michael Adamski, Hal Kimball, Bri Duffy, Angie Witte
Join multiple student organizations in solitdarity to protest US Imperialism and war as the answer to our problems. We will show how war has an adverse impact on multiple facets of society

H2O= How 2 Organize Change Locally for Water 2-3:15 Atwood Mall
3:30-5 Atwood Kiosk
Panel: Brooke Johnson, Jill Polasek, Shawn Stafford, Nate Neil, Kay Bagley
Less than 1% of fresh water is left on the earth and it is being polluted and wasted more each day. Come learn what you can do.

Campus Premiere - Paying the Price: The Killing of Iraqi Children 4-5:30 Watab

Panel: Tony Ascheman, Travis Hahn, Carly Nesseth, Jerry Oehler and Michael Chudzik..
Award winning filmmaker John Pilger reveals the hidden side of sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN and the horrifying and irreversible effect on the Iraqi people, especially children, over the last ten years.


Media Violence: How Harmful Is It? 10-11:30 S. Voyageur

Presenters: Lee LaDue, Tamara Hennes-Vix, Holly Heitkamp, Amber Norcutt, Nate Matthews
Highlighting the effects of extreme violence in video games, movies, and television. Video excerpts and discussion.

Global Poverty: Actions against Slavery, Sweatshops & Third World Debt
Campus Premiere of Sweating for a T-Shirt 1-3:30 Lady Slipper

Presenters: McKayla Kroll, Jamie Hudelson, Cory Johnson, Dana Zwetow, Nicole Armstrong, Sara Berscheit, Darcee Jendro

Need money? Now Hiring! Starting wage at $.05 an hour. Imagine the endless possibilitites with this salary. Come check out our active expos� on slavery, sweatshops, Third World Debt.


Award-winning video The Witness, a miracle of change 10-11 Mississippi

Discussants: Rachel Dye, Jessica Appelholm, Tessa Loken, Carly Sullivan,
What happens to the animals whose skin you wear? What feelings do they have? What intelligence? What pain and cruelty do they experiences? Why don�t we know? The transformation of a tough Brooklyn contractor.

Campus Premiere of Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death 11-12:20 Mississippi

Eyewitnesses tell what happened when Afghan prisoners were sealed in containers on their way to a prison. What was the role of U.S. Special Forces in this atrocity?

Toxic Sludge is Good for You! 12:30-2 Mississippi

Can you believe the NEWS? This video exposes the multi-billion-dollar propaganda industry and how it controls political debates and public opinion to thwart democracy.

Global AIDS Awareness with Coming to Say Goodbye 2-3:15 Watab

Presenters: Abiodun Adeboye, Veronica Gaidelis, Nikki Milazzo
Why does AIDS affect 28 million people in southern Africa, far more than any other population in the world? What are the reasons little is being done to stop this terror? What actions need to be taken NOW?

Toxic Food: Poison on Your Plate 2-3:15 Lewis & Clark
Diet for a New America

Panelists: Natasha Anderson, Desiree Tiffany
The American diet can kill you. There is a simple solution to many serious health problems: A DIET FREE OF ANIMAL PRODUCTS! Planners: Kim Wheelock, Kami Davis, Shannon Mokita


Global Feminism: An International Women's Panel 4-5:30 Little Theatre

Join us as we explore race, class, gender and national origin from multiple cultural perspectives!
Guest Speakers: Karen Flynn (Professor, Women�s Studies), Cha Vang (Hmong Student), Bianca Rhodes (African-American Student), Angie Witte (Korean-American Student), Saima Hassan (Student from the UAE ), Maria Bernabe (Student from Peru), Ayako Mochizuki (Student from Japan)

Nuclear politics in Minnesota -- What you need to know 7-8:30 Atwood Little Theatre

Guest Speaker: George Crocker, North American Water Office, life long activist on environmental and energy issues, challenging powerlines, and nuclear waste.

Learn what energy companies have planned for Nuclear Energy, and where NSP is planning on storing its Nuclear waste. What are the renewable energy alternatives?

Sponsored by: The Social Responsibility Program, Dept. of Human Relations & Multicultural Education, Alternatives to War Committee, Arab Student Association, African Student Association, OPAA, People Uniting for Peace, Student Coalition Against Racism, SCSU Green Party

For more information, contact: Julie Andrzejewski

or Ayako Mochizuki

Jane Fonda and Vietnam 

An old student just sent this to me. It may be old stuff to others, but I hadn't heard it before.


This is for all the kids born in the 70's that do not remember this, and didn't have to bear the burden, that our fathers, mothers, and older brothers and sisters had to bear. Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the "100 Women of the Century." Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat. In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison-the "Hanoi Hilton." Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American "Peace Activist" the "lenient and humane treatment" he'd received.. He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and dragged away.

During the subsequent beating, he fell forward upon the camp Commandant's feet, which sent that officer berserk. In '78, the AF Col. still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying days) from the Vietnamese Col.'s frenzied application of a wooden baton. From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the "Hilton"- the first three of which he was "missing in action". His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned, fed, clothed routine in preparation for a "peace delegation" visit.

They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his SSN on it, in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?" and "Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?" Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.

She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him the little pile of papers. Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Col. Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know about her actions that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi. My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border.

At one time, I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.) We were Jane Fonda's "war criminals."

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as "humane and lenient." Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a large amount of steel placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane till my arms dipped.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of hours after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She did not answer me.

This does not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of "100 Years of Great Women." Lest we forget..."100 years of great women" should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots..... There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them.

Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Excellence or opportunity 

This post on The Volokh Conspiracy got my attention. St. Cloud State's motto is "Excellence and Opportunity" (see? It's here on the logo! We really mean this!). But in principles of economics we teach saving or consumption, guns or butter. Tradeoffs. Eric Muller argues that a public institution could choose to promote racial equality as a compelling interest, or academic excellence as the compelling interest. If it chooses the latter, the fact that its policies have disparate impact on racial equality shouldn't matter -- excellence is compelling! So, Scalia asks, if you are actually trying to achieve both, how can you say either of them is compelling?

We should draw a graph with "excellence" on one axis, "opportunity" on the other, and a production possibilities curve between them. (Of course, 'round here we're inside the frontier.) If SCSU's administration means what it says about providing opportunity, perhaps we should just take excellence off the motto. We'll trade it for opportunity at every opportunity.

(Volokh post found via the excellent Newmark's Door.)

Viewpoint diversity ... not 

Dave Kopel at the Corner makes an interesting point. The Organization of American Historians passed a resolution proposed by Historians Against the War. The original proposal stated
In view of the threat to free speech in the current climate, the OAH executive board affirms the centrality of dissent in American history and the necessity of open debate over important issues of public policy, including U.S. foreign policy, for maintaining the health of this democracy.
What the OAH actually passed was slightly different:
In view of the threat to free speech in the current climate, the Organization of American Historians affirms the centrality of dissent in American history, the sanctity of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the necessity for open debate of public policy issues, including United States foreign policy, in order to maintain the health of this democracy.
I'd think that a help -- the writer of the HNN article takes pains to point out it's not a real anti-war position, but the comments that follow this piece indicate otherwise. Consider this one:
It was an embarrassment to our profession, not because of the dominant opinion on the war, but because of the irresponsibility and hysteria of many of the remarks. There were a number of good, informative, and genuinely useful professional sessions at the meeting. It is a shame that it likely will be remembered for this ad hoc event, dominated by a group of aging leftists, who as Alan Brinkly correctly observed have stopped thinking coherently.
This point, that there was no opposition, leading to mushy thinking, occurs throughout the comments. Kopel correctly observes,
As university presidents fight before the Supreme Court to maintain campus "diversity" by discriminating against people of Asian ancestry, history departments and other humanities departments at many universities hire according to an intolerant code which leaves little room for intellectual diversity.

Monday, April 07, 2003

The dog as editor 

From AtlanticBlog. Yes, it's tasteless, but as the owner of a (now very old, soon not to be with us)Boston Terrier, this generated a good laugh. She nailed a book manuscript of mine once like this. I should have taken her advice -- the book never saw the light of day.

Global warming skepticism not in the US press 

Here's an interesting article on evidence that "global warming" (I mean, if you can't use scare quotes there ...) may not have a good sense of history. (Link courtesy've been wondering how to post this to our discuss list. If I am a "global warming skeptic", what do you call those who accept it? "Advocates"? "Allies"?

Tried to find links to the article and all I came up with was a discussion board on SlashDot, which went nuts over someone quoting George Reisman, an Austrian economist. Why economics? Because as one of the discussers says, global warming "supporters" (no, that's not the right word either -- what is?) fall into two camps: those scientists who are persuaded by the evidence but still admit room for doubt and say the jury's out; and those who are opposed to capitalism and use scare tactics about global warming to attack capitalism. Reisman deals with the second group, but not without diminishing the first. Skepticism is healthy in science; it's hard to see why calling myself a global warming skeptic means anything more than saying "I'm listening. Give me more evidence."

Meanwhile, where is the American press covering this? Really too busy with the war? Why am I "skeptical" of that argument?

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Victory is mine! 

is a
Fire-Eating Magic Monkey

...with a Battle Rating of 8.8

To see if your Food-Eating Battle Monkey can
defeat King, enter your name:

Thanks to Joanne Jacobs for the link and fun.

Soccer? Baseball? Let's Play Hockey! 

Six-year-old legs - some spindly, some stubby, both female and male;
All thrashing wildly at rolling red-white-and-blue beehives.
Playing naive games of swarm-ball.

Sappy parents ring the green, mindful to watch their words carefully.
Johnny kicks it out of bounds . . . �Nice hustle, Son,� echoes across the field.
�Good job,� is heard at Julie�s fall.

Fifty-six teams - different mascots, yet all the same in this Chancellor�s league.
No score is kept, since each Team President knows the goal of lower education:
No one loses in nil-nil ties.

Dues are collected and compensation is set by the league�s union chief.
A collectivist�s dream: �Two orange slices and one granola bar for each,�
No more no less; there are no �Whys?�

All parents make these teams; none can be cut. Push a child? So what?
Avoid litigation and settle claims of unequal protection at all costs!
No one�s at fault in soccer land.

Corrupt lessons passed down to kids of today - tomorrow�s parent-teachers:
�Since we can�t judge each other, we can�t judge you.�
All three-point-eights! That�s where they stand.
- - - - - - - - - -
Switch now to MLB diamonds where once flourished America�s dream.
No ties are allowed. Extra innings if needed. We must have a winner!
One team will win; one will have lost.

Excellence applauded; incompetence booed. Individual success honored,
Rewarded with playing time, bonuses, MVP plaques, and Sports-Center spots.
Talent, results, sacrifice, cost.

Statistics kept for each player and coach: wins, losses, saves, holds,
RBI, LOB, OBA, WP, PB, SB, CS, and runners-left-in-scoring position.
Who is the best? Who�s most to blame?

There may be no �I� in this �TEAM� sport, but . . . there . . . for all to see:
A focus on individualism, with an underlined �M� & �E.�
At SCSU, should this be our game?
- - - - - - - - - -
Collectivist, juvenile soccer - our dysfunctional organization today.
But modeling individualistic, professional baseball? Whoa . . . that�s too far.
Which sport fits well? What should we choose?

Right in the middle, a Division I model of excellence . . . and . . . opportunity.
In our state�s fine tradition, Coach Dahl knows the words:
�Let�s play hockey,� before we all lose!

Friday, April 04, 2003

I ain't got no culture 

I'm sure these will be up all over the internet soon, but it's simply too wonderful. These were the words of an Iraqi as American troops passed through town. As the designer, James Lileks the Sandman, notes, "This was what America meant to him. You may say it�s a crude reduction of a shallow culture.

I say we put it on the twenty dollar bill."

Hell yeah.

Interesting exchange in Michigan arguments 

In the article in OpinionJournal by Pete DuPont, former presidential candidate and head of the National Center for Policy Analysis, we read this exchange between the lawyer for the law school using diversity standards for admissions and Justice Antonin Scalia.
Maureen Mahoney, arguing the law school's case, said that of the "2,500 students who are rejected each year, probably only 80 of them . . . would have gotten an offer of admission from Michigan under a race-blind system." That, she concluded, "is a very small and diffuse burden" relative to the benefits of the racial preference program.

To which Justice Antonin Scalia replied: "I don't know any other area where we . . . decide the case by saying, well, there are very few people being treated unconstitutionally."

In the undergraduate case -- remember that there are two cases, undergraduate and the law school -- the lawyer for the University of Michigan admitted he or she had no record of a student who had received 20 points (on the 150 scale) for being a member of a protected class that had NOT been admitted. Remarkable.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

The FIRE Guides 

I've just learned of a new set of guides for students and faculty to use for supporting individual rights. The FIRE Guides cover religious liberty, legal equity, student fees, due process, free speech and the ever-so-lovely first year orientation programs. If you're a student, they'll send you hard copy for free. Otherwise you can buy the hard copy or download the texts. Check it out.

Rutgers IVCF case settles 

The administration at Rutgers University has settled with the campus' InterVarsity Christian Fellowship over a suit IVCF filed last December. FIRE helped represent the student organization, which was banned for having a "discriminatory" religious requirement for its officers.
Vice President for Student Affairs Emmet A. Dennis declared, �This agreement places Rutgers at the forefront in demonstrating that the principles of inclusivity, diversity, free association and free expression are complementary, not contradictory.�

Failing to make the diversity case 

John Fund writes in today's OpinionJournal on the Michigan case about the work done by Stanley Rothman, Neil Nevitte and Seymour Martin Lipset. They filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in the case. They also have an article in the latest issue of The Public Interest. The results are fascinating: While the results give support for continuing to discuss diversity issues on campuses, only 1/6 of over 4000 respondents to their survey thought diversity courses should be required (as they are at SCSU; read our general education requirements and proceed to Roman numeral III.) A clear majority (that's more than 50%, MM) disagreed with the statement "More minority-group undergraduates should be admitted here even if it means relaxing standards," inlcuding three-fourths of students. Remarkably, when given the statement, "No one should be given special preference in jobs or college admissions on the basis of their gender or race," a clear majority of students disagreed, but only about a fourth of faculty and administrators disagreed.

The remarkable part comes from the effects. If the goal of diversity in admissions is for students, it's not helping.

As the proportion of black students rose, student satisfaction with their university experience dropped, as did their assessments of the quality of their education and the work ethic of their peers. In addition, the higher the enrollment diversity, the more likely students were to say that they personally experienced discrimination.
The parallels between these statements and the findings in the Rankin Report for our campus couldn't be more striking.

Perhaps as the diversity conference at SCSU opens tomorrow, this article will be discussed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Beyond De Genova: the enemy within 

Today there's more chilling reading here, even as coalition troops advance past the site of ancient Babylon, on the road to Baghdad.


Oral arguments on the Michigan cases were held yesterday. Scroll up from this point on AppellateBlog for the blow-by-blow. Decision in June; my money's on overturning the appelate court decision, but guessing Justice O'Connor is like guessing who will close a Red Sox game these days.

And if they could do something about Michigan hosting a college hockey regional as a #3 seed...

All DeGenova, all the time 

Erin O'Connor is still providing great coverage of the DeGenova case. She links today to an excellent New York Times article about a student of DeGenova's who wants to be a Marine. Be sure to also catch the coverage at the Columbia Political Review here and here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Where do they teach headline writing? 

"Local Activists Halt Racism." Wow. "Halt" it. I'm impressed.

Four gratifying e-mails 

This morning I was pleased to open four remarkably encouraging e-mails. The first came from an administrator with our IFO faculty union�s central office in St. Paul. Not only did he go out of his way to thank me for pointing out a programming error that had incorrectly stopped making employer-matching contributions to our faculty�s supplemental retirement plan, but he stepped forward to take personal responsibility for not having adequately monitored the system changes needed to comply with our contract.

Next I read a personal note from MnSCU Chancellor McCormick. After also expressing his thanks, he assured me that his office�s System Administrator would have this programming oversight well documented before individual performance reviews would be conducted in his office again this year. To underscore his belief in the importance of individual accountability, McCormick wrote that he would later this week publish for all to see, not only MnSCU�s specific quantifiable objectives for the next three years, but also a detailed internal audit of each of its disbursement accounts for the past three years.

The third e-mail I opened was from SCSU�s Faculty Association President Andrew Larkin. He echoed others� thanks to me, and suggested that, even though I was only a �fair-share� member, he would welcome me on a new university-wide committee that would be charged with the goal of strengthening each union member�s individual measure of accountability. He pledged that we could work together, not only to freeze IFO dues so long as faculty salaries are frozen, but to move toward establishing standardized measures for assessing . . . and ultimately linking compensation levels to . . . each individual member�s quantifiable measures of teaching competence and scholarly productivity.

SCSU President Roy Saigo�s personal e-mail to me was the fourth that I read this morning. He pledged never to settle another lawsuit that would leave the insidiously divisive taste of collective guilt in anyone�s mouth. Individual responsibility, rather than diffused group accountability would be the new norm on our campus. He also wrote that he would be proposing a radically different form of new �diversity training,� one that would be based on the writings of Stanford scholar Thomas Sowell. The emphasis, he said, would be on stressing to all how individual within-group differences dwarf in importance and significance any detectable between-group differences in means.

How gratifying! These four e-mails tell me that I no longer need to write and speak about the importance of embracing individual accountability on our campus.

Oh, I�m sorry . . . April Fool!

Michigan thoughts 

From Cold Spring Shops. Follow Stephen's links to some good articles.

A million De Genovas 

Erin O'Connor, as always, is faster on the Google than me looking for other examples of campus abuse of the First Amendment in the name of war.

Viewpoint diversity? Unlikely 

Also in the WSJ (and I link here to the FreeRepublic posting) is an article by a faculty member and a student at Northwestern on -- how does she say this? -- "overrepresentation" of Democrats in law school faculty. They note that "Georgetown law professors have donated approximately $180,000 to the Democratic Party, $2,000 to the GOP and $1,500 to the Green party." And most conservative on the law school campus are concentrated in --surprise! -- the faculty who teach the economics of the law.
When law schools make no progress (and no discernible effort) in correcting the patent absence of diversity in viewpoints, it is fair to assume that their true goal is racial patterning, not educational diversity. ...

[U]niversities might argue that preferences are needed to make up for egregious past discrimination. That provides a principled rationale for extending preferences to African-Americans and Native Americans while not taking effective action to remedy the gross viewpoint disparities on faculties. In the event the Supreme Court rejects that rationale, private universities could encourage Congress to allow them to engage in race-based affirmative action on the grounds that private institutions should enjoy freedom to admit whom they choose. But by pursuing the diversity rationale, universities have sacrificed their higher calling to truth. Instead, they have become just another political faction, all too willing to dissemble.

Unbounded optimism 

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today (sorry, link only good for subscribers) that discusses a Gallup poll showing how many Americans think they'll be rich some day. From the editorial:
The recent survey of 1,000 adults found that only 2% of Americans consider themselves rich today, but a whopping 31% expect to become rich someday. Understandably, young people are most optimistic, with 51% of those age 18 to 29 anticipating the life of a sort-of Rockefeller. But the hopefulness extends across all age groups, with even 22% of those between ages 50 and 64 figuring they'll hit the jackpot someday, though only 4% of them are rich today.

Even more revealing is the fact that many low-income people expect a fat future payday. The Gallup survey found that more than one in every five persons earning less than $30,000 a year has that belief, with the share climbing to 38% for those earning between $50,000 and $74,000, and all the way to 51% for those who make more than $75,000.

Perhaps this is why our student body has trouble accepting the teachings of the class-and-diversity mongerers in our midst. Half of our primary market population thinks they'll be the ones attacked for their success some day.