John Leo on Transparency in Higher Education

By on September 12, 2007

FIRE friend and nationally syndicated columnist John Leo mentioned FIRE in a piece in today’s edition of The Washington Post, where he catalogued academic controversies that have swept the nation the past year. (Think of Norman Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, the Dartmouth Trustee controversy, and the Duke Lacrosse team.)
 
As Leo wrote:
Speech codes, double standards, censorship, politicized departments, an obsession with preferences and identity groups at the expense of standards and a broad curriculum-all are preventing the universities from fulfilling their true mission. Not only should Americans be concerned about the content of university education; there also needs to be an investigation of its costs and its quality. Too much of what goes on in American higher education today takes place behind the scenes. Transparency is an overused word, but we think the campuses could use a lot more of it.
If this sounds familiar to Torch readers, it’s because a quick perusal of FIRE’s case archive, media coverage, Spotlight, and posts on The Torch shows there is no lack of material for us to speak on when it comes to speech codes, censorship, viewpoint discrimination, and all the other usual tactics used by university administrators to stifle expression on campus.


As Leo said, true transparency in higher education is a necessity. The public awareness that would follow could help eradicate so many of the problems we encounter daily here at FIRE. After all, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”