That parents with the means to retain admissions counselors are protesting is encouraging. Resource allocation always changes at the margins first.
The counselor said that she couldn't complain about a student landing at Stanford, but that she was frustrated by the family distaste for Yale based on, in the counselor's opinion, an uninformed sense of the place. Yale of course has plenty of activists on the left, and has had its share of debates over campus culture and politics -- from free speech to Halloween costumes. But the university has multiple, active groups on the right, has a president who has repeatedly defended free speech and has a storied history of educating Republican politicians. (Four of the five Yale graduates who served as president of the United States were Republicans.)Read the article, though, and note, it's not only upscale Babbitts who are balking. On the other hand, the hothouses continue to ride high enough in the U.S. News rankings that there are likely to be sufficient enrollments to keep the selectivity part of their rankings high.
The reality, the counselor said, is that while the dislike of Yale surprised her, there are other colleges that parents are vetoing. "Many won't consider Oberlin or Wesleyan, and Brown is completely off the table," she said.
At some level, such antipathy toward those and other colleges isn't surprising.
The bad news is that Wesleyan's president Michael Roth wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal in which he appears to have concluded that the way to deal with the excesses of identity politics and affirmative action is ... expand the ambits of identity politics and affirmative action.
Roth wrote of efforts such as recruiting military veterans, who have different life experiences and, many times, different politics than others at Wesleyan.Just teach the controversies. Oh, turf out the deanlets and deanlings of the Diversity Boondoggle, and merge the -studies disciplines in with traditional disciplines.
But he also called for a greater diversity of ideas on the campus. "The issue, however, isn’t whether the occasional conservative, libertarian or religious speaker gets a chance to speak," Roth wrote. "That is tolerance, an appeal to civility and fairness, but it doesn’t take us far enough. To create deeper intellectual and political diversity, we need an affirmative-action program for the full range of conservative ideas and traditions, because on too many of our campuses they seldom get the sustained, scholarly attention that they deserve."
Could get worse. Notorious dropout factory Chicago State is expecting an enrolling class of ... eighty-six. In food service, there's a symbolism to 86. (I encountered the expression there, in 1972.)
On top of the financial concerns, Chicago State reported a graduation rate of 11 percent. In recent years, the rate had ranged from 13 to 21 percent.And the cash flow situation is so bad there are days the food service fails to open, or eighty-sixes much of the menu.
Then, earlier this month, President Thomas Calhoun Jr. was let go after just nine months in the job, with trustees agreeing to pay him $600,000 in severance to leave immediately.