Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote Widely


It is a small and dirty secret–or has been in my experience–that, come presidential election time, undergraduates can find in themselves precious little compunction about voting multiple times. It isn’t, frankly, all that difficult to do right here in New Hampshire, and is made even easier with the prospect of double registration: here and in a student’s home state. It is sad to see that no one seems to be above feckless activism when the White House is at stake. But there it is–or was.

The New Hampshire legislature is now working on a bill that targets college students in order to reduce vote fraud. It would disable those living in hotel rooms, jails, and college dormitories from claiming domicile in the Granite State.

Conservative New Hampshire is dangling on the precipice of “swing-state” status, so Democrats are predictably against this effort at stopping non-resident transients from casting votes.

And so here is the laugh of the day. Sharon Nordgren, a Democratic representative from Dartmouth’s host town, Hanover, says, “Mostly [Republicans] are upset because they think stopping as many college students as they can from voting will help their ticket. The general theme is that Republicans are trying to intimidate immigrants, people who don’t speak English, college students and low income people and keep them from voting.”



is an issue at Stanford, too, where the admissions dean who let him into Yale is now.


And Yale Wins


Yale & China


In writing about the Yale Taliban issue again today, this time through the eyes of a 9/11 victim’s family, there’s this:

Yale officials now have other concerns. Yesterday it was announced that China’s President Hu Jintao will deliver a major address on campus on April 21. Mr. Levin has sent out an email saying the Chinese leader’s visit “affirms the value the Chinese place on their longstanding relationship with Yale. In recent years, Yale has been the most active of all American universities in establishing student exchanges and research collaborations with China.”
Yale’s enormous commitment to China is likely to dominate discussion on campus in the coming weeks. But Mrs. Bailey and Ms. Pothier believe the university is making a long-term mistake by trying to sweep the Taliban Man issue under a rug by ignoring their complaints and that of all others.

After all, they point out that it would just take one more Tiananmen Square massacre in China to leave Yale with an bigger embarrassment than even the Taliban Man has been. “Yale owes it to both itself and the world outside its ivory towers to clarify where it stands on moral questions,” Ms. Pothier says.

Taking on “Takfir”


Masood Farivar reports in The Wall Street Journal (


“Who Knows This Stuff?”


Last week the New York Post gave an American history quiz to some of the city

“Heretical Ideas”


Radical ideas about re-directing public higher education moneys to students instead of institutions, and privatization of public campuses, seem to be gaining more of a hearing.

In a letter to The Wall Street Journal (3/29/06), James Garland, president of Miami University, addresses

More Caving to “the Heckler’s Veto”


Big book-sellers Borders and Waldenbrooks are refusing to carry the latest issue of Free Inquiry because it reprints the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. A spokesman for the stores says stocking the publication might endanger the

Can the Islamic World Be Made Safe for Democracy?


An important conference on democracy and the Middle East, titled

Behind the Curtain?


Over on The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez posted an interesting response from the National Council of La Raza to Senator Alexander

Mexican-American High School Dropout Rates


These statistics are cited by Samuel Huntington in Who Are We: The Challenges to America’s National Identity. They come from the 1990 census.

Percentage of all Americans except Mexican-Americans in 1989-90 without a high school diploma was 23.5%.
Percentages of Mexican Americans without a high school diploma in the same years:
First generation: 69.9%
Second generation: 51.5%
Third generation: 33.0%
Fourth generation: 41.9%

That is, in every generation, the Mexican-American high school dropout rates were higher than the national average, and in the fourth generation of Mexican-Americans the dropout rate was actually worse than in the third generation of Mexican-Americans.

Freedom Through the Wringer


Over at Dartblog, I have posted the text of an e-mail from New York University’s spokesman, John Beckman. In it, he tries to explain the school’s outright censorship of the Mohammad cartoons at an Objectivist Club meeting, and in so doing uses a little trick that students should watch out for: the University attempted to shut down the free display of the cartoons by giving the students a choice between a closed-off meeting with the cartoons and the open, public one they desired without the cartoons. When the students, eager to discuss the topic of free speech, choose the public meeting, they were accordingly censored.

How does John Beckman see it?

“…the student leadership of the club came to the University and indicated it had changed its mind: it would choose not to display the cartoons, and would like to be able to invite about 75 people to the event who were not members of the NYU community. The University agreed, but let’s be clear: the students made this choice.”
The emphasis is mine; I’m sure the students themselves would disagree quite strenuously.

Not Good Enough


Regarding the idea that many students have learned to give their leftwing professors what they want, without necessarily believing in their leftwing propaganda, while that may be a necessary tactic for survival in the contemporary university, let’s not take any comfort in it. That is the kind of argument that encouraged the complacency about the academic world that has allowed things to get as bad as they are today. Even if SOME students do see through the leftwing propaganda, and at best it would be only SOME, they are still not getting an education in the positive values of American and Western civilization that they should be getting. That still constitutes a victory for the Left and a defeat for our culture.

Worth It?


>A story in this weekend’s Wash Post magazine addresses George Leef’s area of expertise:

What if all those Ivy graduates whose parents shelled out $150,000 or even $200,000 for their undergraduate degrees could have done just as well if they’d gone somewhere else? Somewhere much cheaper?

Research implies that is actually the case. According to these recent studies, when you do a cold, hard analysis — removing family dreams and visions of class rings — the Ivies and other elite private schools simply aren’t worth the money. The answer isn’t conclusive, and there are skeptics — at the Ivies and elsewhere. But at the least, the research should give parents pause and prompt them to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before steering their child to an elite private college.

More on Columbia’s “Memogate”


Re my posting on an op ed by Curt Levey, general counsel for the Committee for Justice, on this controversy:

Here is Levey

What’s With Yale and Afghan Women?



Whither the Corp?


Because Harvard stands as a symbol of American higher education, it would be

The ACLU: Full of Surprises


A bill which would regulate advertising by anti-abortion pregnancy centers

To Be Or Not To Be Americans


American high school students, the children of immigrants, recently turned an American flag upside down on a flagpole and ran up a Mexican flag above it. In demonstrations purporting to show that immigrants want to Americans, illegal aliens marched through the streets of our cities carrying Latin American flags and carrying signs with slogans such as

More Praise for George Mason


USA Today reports that there is most certainly a trickle-down effect to recent victories, straight to the admissions office.


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