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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues


Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis and Pietro A. Sasso

Focusing on crucial issues in higher education, this book challenges readers to go beyond taken-for-granted assumptions about America’s colleges and universities and instead critically examine important questions facing them in today’s troubled world. Each chapter presents divergent perspectives, that is, "pro" and "con" views, in the hope of stimulating reasoned dialogue among students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large. Readers will explore how internal factors in the academic community often interact with external social, economic, and political influences to produce conflictual results. They will see that academe is hardly value-neutral and inevitably political. This book urges them to transcend strident political persuasion and instead engage in the careful analysis needed to make colleges better.

The text provides in-depth appraisal of key topics of controversy: the purposes of higher education, liberal education, academic freedom, political correctness, tenure, shared governance, faculty workload, admissions tests, student learning, Greek life, the worth of college, equity and social justice, athletics, student entitlement, technology and distance instruction, and college amenities. The book will appeal to students, faculty, staff, and all those interested in the future of higher education. It is especially useful for courses in contemporary issues in higher education, foundations of higher education, higher education and society, college student development, and the organization and administration of higher education.

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9. Free Expression at Public Colleges and Universities: Why Students Should Care About It and Why Campus Officials Should Make Sure It Is Protected (Dennis E. Gregory)


← 128 | 129 →

9.  Free Expression at Public Colleges and Universities: Why Students Should Care About It and Why Campus Officials Should Make Sure It Is Protected



American higher education, while arguably the best higher education system in the world, faces many challenges today. Decreases in state and federal funding; low retention and graduation rate; concerns about crime and violence on campus (with gun violence and sexual violence at the top of the list); unfunded federal mandates that cause the addition of new administrators to focus on compliance; growing student activism; and burgeoning numbers of adjunct faculty and the resulting decrease in tenure track positions (the list goes on and on). All claim the attention of administrators and faculty alike. Another issue today, which is at the heart of the spirit of American higher education—and which is not getting the attention it deserves—is the retreat from support for free expression on our public college campuses. Those familiar with landscape of American higher education praise its diversity of institutions and understand that the private sector of higher education (both not-for-profit and for-profit) faces many of the same problems as do their public counterparts, but issues of free expression are not necessarily the same on independent campuses. As a result, this chapter focuses upon the issue of free expression on public college and university campuses. ← 129 | 130 →

The April 8, 2016, edition of the “Chronicle...

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