Phi Beta Cons

Newcomb vs. Tulane

The fight for the future of Newcomb College within Tulane University reached the courts this week. The AP write up is here. I’m sympathetic to the plaintiffs because this is a donor-intent case and universities routinely abuse donor intent, to the detriment of just about everyone except tenured radicals. Still, this bit troubled me:

Nikki Greenfield, a senior in sociology with a minor in women’s studies and business, said some of the classes she was taking as a Newcomb student are no longer given. “There aren’t enough women’s studies classes,” she said.

If the effort to preserve Newcomb College comes down to making sure Tulane has women’s studies classes, then I’ll probably start cheering for both sides to lose.
Earlier this week in the WSJ, Naomi Schaeffer Riley had a very interesting summary of the controversy. She suggested that no matter what the outcome of the case, Mrs. Newcomb, the original donor, probably wouldn’t approve of what’s going on at the college she endowed. Other coverage: New Orleans Times-Picayune and the LAT. A pro-plaintiff website is also worth a look.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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