Phi Beta Cons

“Pragmatic Political Action”

In a recent opinion piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Pomona College president David Oxtoby argues that it’s time for universities and students to “force political change” on the issue of global warming. He writes:

[The change] must be driven by students who see the big picture and the future – students who are committed to pragmatic political action, much like those in decades past. The reality is that the implications of climate change are here. If we are not effective in our efforts to move political decision-makers to act, the future of our students and the planet will be grim.

There appears to be a disconnect between Oxtoby’s thesis and a passage appearing at the beginning of his article, in which he writes that the primary purpose of colleges and universities is to instill skepticism and to get to students to “weigh competing values.” It seems like he’s much more in favor of turning campus communities into political action committees. 

Jesse Saffron — Jesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...

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