Commentary

Squandered Resources on College Education

By Walter E. Williams | December 8, 2015 | 4:30am EST
(AP File Photo)

Most college students do not belong in college. I am not by myself in this assessment. Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson said, "It's time to drop the college-for-all crusade," adding that "the college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness."

Richard Vedder, professor emeritus of economics at Ohio University, reports that "the U.S. Labor Department says the majority of new American jobs over the next decade do not need a college degree. We have a six-digit number of college-educated janitors in the U.S." Vedder adds that there are "one-third of a million waiters and waitresses with college degrees." More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree, such as flight attendants, taxi drivers and salesmen. College was not a wise use of these students', their parents' and taxpayer resources.

What goes on at many colleges adds to the argument that college for many is a waste of resources. Some Framingham State University students were upset by an image of a Confederate flag sticker on another student's laptop. They were offered counseling services by the university's chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Campus Reform reports that because of controversial newspaper op-eds, five Brown University students are claiming that freedom of speech does not confer the right to express opinions they find distasteful.

A Harvard University student organization representing women's interests now routinely advises students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence and that might therefore be traumatic. Such students will be useless to rape victims and don't belong in law school.

And some college professors are not fit for college, as suggested by the courses they teach. Here's a short list, and you decide: "Interrogating Gender: Centuries of Dramatic Cross-Dressing," Swarthmore College; "GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, and Identity," University of Virginia; "Oh, Look, a Chicken!" Belmont University; "Getting Dressed," Princeton University; "Philosophy and Star Trek," Georgetown University; "What if Harry Potter Is Real?" Appalachian State University; and "God, Sex, Chocolate: Desire and the Spiritual Path," University of California, San Diego.

The fact that such courses are part of the curricula also says something about administrators who allow such nonsense.

Then there is professorial "wisdom." Professor Mary Margaret Penrose, of the Texas A&M University School of Law, asked, during a panel discussion on gun control, "Why do we keep such an allegiance to a Constitution that was driven by 18th-century concerns?"

Perhaps the newest "intellectual" fad is white privilege. Portland State University professor Rachel Sanders' "White Privilege" course says "whiteness" must be dismantled if racial justice is ever to be achieved. Campus Reform reports on other whiteness issues (http://tinyurl.com/oof9wu3). Harvard's classes on critical race theory combine "progressive political struggles for racial justice with critiques of the conventional legal and scholarly norms which are themselves viewed as part of the illegitimate hierarchies that need to be changed."

Back to those college administrators. Dartmouth College's vice provost for student affairs, Inge-Lise Ameer, said, "There's a whole conservative world out there that's not being very nice." She did, however, issue "an unequivocal apology" for stoking tensions with such a disparaging comment about conservatives to Black Lives Matter protesters.

After a standoff with other Black Lives Matter protesters, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber acceded to demands that former Princeton President Woodrow Wilson's name be removed from the campus because of his behavior as U.S. president. President Wilson was a progressive and an avowed racist who racially segregated the civil service and delighted in showing D.W. Griffith's racist "The Birth of a Nation" to his White House guests. Professor Thomas DiLorenzo's recent column suggests that a worthier target for Black Lives Matter protesters would be Abraham Lincoln, who he says was "the most publicly outspoken racist and white supremacist of all American presidents" (http://tinyurl.com/jza7ntf).

The bottom line is that George Orwell was absolutely right when he said, "There are notions so foolish that only an intellectual will believe them."

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