The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses

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9780060977726: The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses

Universities once believed themselves to be sacred enclaves, where students and professors could debate the issues of the day and arrive at a better understanding of the human condition. Today, sadly, this ideal of the university is being quietly betrayed from within. Universities still set themselves apart from American society, but now they do so by enforcing their own politically correct worldview through censorship, double standards and a judicial system without due process. Faculty and students who threaten the prevailing norms may be forced to undergo "thought reform."In a surreptitious about-face, universities have become the enemy of a free society, and the time has come to hold these institutions to account.

The Shadow University is a stinging indictment of the covert system of justice on college campuses, exposing the widespread reliance of n kangaroo courts and arbitrary punishment to coerce students and faculty into conformity. Alan Charles Kors and Harvey A. Silverglate, staunch civil libertarians and active defenders of free inquiry on campus, lay bare the totalitarian mindset that undergirds speech codes, conduct codes, and "campus life" bureaucracies, through which a cadre of deans and counselors indoctrinate students and faculty in an ideology that favors group rights over individual rights, sacrificing free speech and academic freedom to spare the sensitivities of currently favored groups.

From Maine to California, at public and private universities alike, liberty and fairness are the first casualties as teachers and students find themselves in the dock, presumed guilty until proven innocent and often forbidden to cross-examine their accusers. Kors and Silverglate introduce us to many of those who have firsthand experience of The Shadow University, including:

  • The student at the center of the 1993 "Water Buffalo" case at the University of Pennsylvania who was brought up on charges of racial harassment after calling a group of rowdy students "water buffalo" -- even though the terms has no racial connotations.
  • The Catholic residence adviser who was fired for refusing, on the grounds of religious conscience, to wear a symbol of lesbian and gay causes
  • The professor who was investigated for sexual harassment when he disagreed with campus feminists about curriculum issues
  • The student who was punished for laughing at a statement deemed offensive to others and who was ordered to undergo "sensitivity training" as a result.

The Shadow University unmasks a chilling reality for parent who entrust their sons and daughters to the authority of such institutions, for thinking people who recognize that vigorous debate is the only sure path to truth, and for all Americans who realize that when even one citizen is deprived of liberty, we are all diminished.

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Review:

At first glance, this title is just another entry in the roster of books opposed to political correctness at American universities, yet it's surprisingly good--certainly the best of its type since Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education appeared in 1991. Kors and Silverglate are hard-core civil libertarians turned off by the "hidden, systematic assault upon liberty, individualism, dignity, due process, and equality before the law" that they describe as rampant on campuses. Theirs is not so much a brief against academic multiculturalism, but an eye-opening narrative about how the modern university "hands students a moral agenda upon arrival, subjects them to mandatory political reeducation, sends them to sensitivity training, submerges their individuality in official group identity, intrudes upon private conscience, treats them with scandalous inequality, and, when it chooses, suspends or expels them." Through well-told stories and anecdotes (including an excellent chapter-long sketch of the University of Pennsylvania's semi-famous "water buffalo" incident), Kors and Silverglate make their case and make it well. --John J. Miller

About the Author:

Alan Charles Kors is professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and editor in chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment.

Harvey A. Silverglate is a criminal defense attorney and civil liberties litigator who writes regular columns for the Boston Phoenix and the National Law Journal and has taught at Harvard Law School.

Alan Charles Kors is professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and editor in chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment.

Harvey A. Silverglate is a criminal defense attorney and civil liberties litigator who writes regular columns for the Boston Phoenix and the National Law Journal and has taught at Harvard Law School.

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