September 25, 2017

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Stop giving to your alma mater until they commit to these common-sense reforms.

Yale University, with more than $25 billion dollars in its endowment, is about to launch a new capital campaign to raise several billion dollars more. For decades, Yale and other elite university alumni, grateful for the education they received, gave back to help their alma maters build their financial war chest. The idea was simple: With greater resources, the elite schools could make financial aid more generous, hire more professors, and upkeep their infrastructure.

But in recent decades, universities have changed. They have prioritized politics and social justice activism over education. In the name of combating racism, they encourage it; indeed, campuses have become ground zero for 21st century segregation in the name not of conservatism but rather of progressive theory. And they have hired administrators at rates far greater than they have professors. For all their talk about diversity, they are superficial in its application: Skin color and sexuality count toward diversity, economic background less so. Intellectual diversity and respect for alternate viewpoints – what should be the basis of any serious education – hardly merits university consideration.

In 2012, for example, 97 percent of Yale faculty political donations went to Democrats. Three-quarters of Yale faculty members consider themselves liberal or very liberal, and the proportion is likely above 95 percent in the humanities and social sciences.

And the problem is only going to get worse: Humanities and social science programs are producing record numbers of Ph.D.’s, many in narrow, obscure, politicized fields so consumed with theory that they have little to no real-world relevance. There simply are not enough teaching jobs in universities to offer graduates of these programs, nor do they have much qualification to work outside. To have an ever-expanding administrative class hiring from the pool of failed or failing academics solves that problem, and the politicized academics, sheltered from real-world accountability, then begin to impose their racial, gender, or political agendas upon college students, essentially treating them as postmodern lab rats.

So, what to do? It’s reasonable to question why Yale, whose endowment surpasses Estonia and Nepal’s gross domestic product, or Harvard, whose endowment surpasses Bahrain’s GDP and is equivalent to oil-rich Azerbaijan’s, need to solicit additional donations, especially given that they charge upwards of $60,000 per year in tuition, room, and board. Even with financial aid factored in, the inflow of cash is impressive.


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