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Al Qaeda Goes to College: First Book Review

Posted in 1966, 2008 Election, aecond amendment, AIDS/HIV, alcohol, alcoholism, animal house, animals, arrest, art, asia, athletics, Barack Obama, baseball, bichons, Biden, Big Business, binge drinking, blogging, Blogroll, books, breaking news, cars, cats, ceo compensation, Christmas, chrysler, Crime, criminal justice, culture, cyberspace, Democrats, diets, Disabilities, Disability Discrimination, discrimination, divorce, dogs, election, Employment Discrimination, entertainment, environment, films, food, fraternities, Gay Literature, gun control, high education, Higher Education, history, HIV/AIDS, hollywood, immigration, intelligent design, international, internet, Israel, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, marriage, mccain, media, medicine, middle east, movies, murder, murder in the 20th century, news, North Pole, novels, obama, Oil Companies, Palin, pennsylvania, pets, Pigs, Pit Bulls, Polar Express, Politics, pornography, president, Presidential Election, prisons, professors, random, relationships, religion, Republicans, Santa Claus, Sarah Palin, science, science fiction, sciencec, second amendment, shooting, sports, study abroad, technology, Terrorism, time travel, Uncategorized, United Nations, universities, vegans, Vice President, Violence, VTU, war, war on terror, world affairs, writing on February 21, 2009 by castagnera

February 21, 2009

Book Review Highlight Al-Qaeda Goes to College

AlqaedaOn Jan. 23, 2009, Adjunct Prof Blog announced  that James Ottavio Castagnera, a well known lawyer and professor at Rider University, just wrote an exciting new book entitled “Al-Qaeda Goes To College.” Professor Castagnera was kind enough to provide me with an advance copy and I could not put it down. 
The book starts off by detailing how Professor Castagnera world began to change on 9-11. It then goes on to discuss the Anthrax scare that occurred at the Hamlton New Jersey Post Office, just a few miles a way from Rider University.    
The book’s research is excellent and it is full of detailed footnotes that others will undoubtedly find helpful.  Professor Castagnera central thesis, however, is on the impact  9-11 had on higher education. He views 9-11 as a double edge sword. On the one hand universities lost their innocence at great cost (increased governmental regulations, security costs etc.), but on the other hand universities also got a windfall because now they offer more programs and research on national security. Professor Castagnera believes that American universities have met the challenge of 9-11 and we are better off because of it. He compares 9-11 to WWII and states that America became a super power because of WWII.

The book goes on and covers such topics as universities’ roles in training counter-terrorism experts, particularly anthropologists working in Iraq and Afghanistan; bio-terrorism research on campuses; inflammatory critiques by the likes of Ward Churchill; the conspiracy theories advocated by some academics regarding 9/11; lawsuits against universities by terror victims trying to get settlements from countries like Iran by seizing archaeological artifacts in American universities; accused Islamists teaching at American colleges, like Sami al-Arian at USF.

This book not only presents well researched factual information, but it also contains legal analysis. For example with respect to the discharge of Professor Ward Churchill, Professor Castagnera outlines the First Amendment rights of public employees and in particular academic freedom. 

To my knowledge, this is the first book on how 9-11 has changed the world of higher education.  This book will be available around April 30th and you can pre-order it now from the above link. You will be glad that you did.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


Read a sample chapter from my newest book, “Al Qaeda Goes to College”

Posted in 1966, 2008 Election, aecond amendment, AIDS/HIV, alcohol, alcoholism, animal house, animals, arrest, art, asia, athletics, Barack Obama, baseball, bichons, Biden, Big Business, binge drinking, blogging, Blogroll, books, breaking news, cars, cats, ceo compensation, Christmas, chrysler, Crime, criminal justice, culture, cyberspace, Democrats, diets, Disabilities, Disability Discrimination, discrimination, divorce, dogs, election, Employment Discrimination, entertainment, environment, films, food, fraternities, Gay Literature, gun control, high education, Higher Education, history, HIV/AIDS, hollywood, immigration, intelligent design, international, internet, Israel, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, marriage, mccain, media, medicine, middle east, movies, murder, murder in the 20th century, news, North Pole, novels, obama, Oil Companies, Palin, pennsylvania, pets, Pigs, Pit Bulls, Polar Express, Politics, pornography, president, Presidential Election, prisons, professors, random, relationships, religion, Republicans, Santa Claus, Sarah Palin, science, science fiction, sciencec, second amendment, shooting, sports, study abroad, technology, Terrorism, time travel, Uncategorized, United Nations, universities, vegans, Vice President, Violence, VTU, war, war on terror, world affairs, writing on February 10, 2009 by castagnera

Serialization: Why My Dad Hates Ice Cream (5)

Posted in 1966, AIDS/HIV, alcohol, alcoholism, animal house, arrest, art, athletics, binge drinking, blogging, Blogroll, books, breaking news, Crime, criminal justice, culture, cyberspace, Disabilities, Disability Discrimination, discrimination, Employment Discrimination, entertainment, films, fraternities, Gay Literature, Higher Education, history, HIV/AIDS, hollywood, internet, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, media, movies, news, novels, Politics, pornography, professors, random, religion, Terrorism, universities, war on terror, writing with tags , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by castagnera

åChapter Eleven
     When I came back downstairs Claire was waiting for me in the

front hall.  I guess she didn’t want to make a solo appearance.  We

walked out to the kitchen, which smelled of baked beans and onions,

through the sun room and out the back door into our yard.
      The six adults were all seated around a big round table that

I recognized as belonging to our neighbor, Charlie Halleck.

Knowing old man Halleck, I’d have bet anything he wouldn’t have

loaned it to dad if he had known what kinds of people would be

eating at it.  Off to the right a teeange boy and girl were playing

a lethargic game of badminton across the net that Arch must have

hastily put up earlier in the day.
     As Claire and I walked across the lawn to the table, I felt a

sudden rush of anxiety.  I recognized Dad’s co©counsel, Lawrence

Fishbine Berger, because Archie had done some real estate work with

him in the past.  And I recognized Dorothy Berger, his wife, who

had been to dinner at our house a couple of years ago.  By process

of elimination the third, and youngest, male at the table had to be

Dennis J. Lustig.
     My first impression of Denny Lustig was that he had to be

related to the actor Tom Cruise, who had just burst upon the movie

scene with a sexy little comedy called “Risky Business.”  Cruise

had played a teen who, left alone at home for the weekend, turned

his house into a brothel for two days.  Naturally, Mom had objected

to my seeing it, but I had managed to catch it at the Lawrence Park

Shopping Center on a Saturday afternoon anyway.‘’3[1]0*†(†(∞

‘å     Every girl I knew, who had managed to see the picture despite

her parents’ protests, was in love with Cruise, and for that reason

every guy who, like me, had slipped in to see it, hated him.  And

Lustig was just about as good looking as the famous young actor.
     Lustig looked particularly appealing, placed as he was between

Archie and Larry Berger.  If ever there was a Laurel and Hardy of

the law, my Dad and his sometime co©counsel were that duo.  As big

and round and fat as the old man was (and pretty much still is,

despite the ice cream aversion), Berger was as thin and stooped and

stringy.  If Lustig was the Tom Cruise of the case, Berger was the

Walter Matthau.  But I’m probably getting you confused with all my

movie allusions.  Suffice it to say that, if and when they ever

entered a Bucks County courtroom, the client ©©© even though he was

under an HIV death sentence ©©© was going to look dazzling in

contrast to his two attorneys.
    As Claire and I came into the backyard from the sun room we had

let the screen door slam behind us.  Everybody at the table had

looked up at once, and Archie lumbered to his feet, knocking his

molded plastic lawn chair over behind him.  He looked beleaguered

and the blue barbeque apron he wore was smeared with drying red

sauce and sundry other, unidentifiable food products.
    “Hey, kids, glad you finally made it,” he said in what I

recognized as phony©jovial tones.  The stress Archie was enduring

was hidden just below a very thin layer of congeniality.

    “Ned… Claire… I’m sure you remember Mr. and Mrs. Berger.”‘’40*†(†(∞

‘å     “Hi.”
Claire and I smiled insincere, forced little smiles at the Bergers.

Mr. Berger, slumped back in his molded plastic chair… one of a

dozen Dad had purchased en masse from an end©of©summer sidewalk

sale at the Manoa Shopping Center last August and then left stacked

in the backyard all winter to turn from white to a cruddy©looking

shade of gray… lethargically waved the hand that wasn’t holding

his scotch on the rocks. “Hi, kids.  Great to see you two again.”

Yeh, sure.
    Mrs. Berger, by contrast, leaned forward so that her cleavage

became clearly visible to my pubescent stare.  Two very thin

shoulder straps, which seemed to be little more than bits of twine,

held up her dress, which barely contained her ample bosum.  She

flashed a big smile at us, revealing a mouthful of braces.  By 1985

middle©aged orthodontic work had become all the rage and Mrs. B.

obviously was right on the cutting edge of the trend.  Her big

smile compressed her eyes down to two slits and some of her

heavily©applied sky©blue eyeshadow cracked and flaked.
    “Oh, my, you two have gotten so big.  Claire you’re quite the

woman.  Your father reminded me before you got her that you’re

almost Gwenny’s age.”
    Turning round in her chair, so that I now got to study her

bare, freckled right shoulder and back, she shouted as if her

daughter were two or three backyards away.  “Gwenny, get over here‘Ä%50*†(†(∞

and meet the McAdoo children.  You too, Justin.  Put those racquets

down and come here.” 
    The Berger offspring appeared to be no more enthusiastic about

this close encounter of the teenage kind than Claire and I were.

But we went through the motions of shaking hands and getting

acquainted.  Then Archie, still standing uneasily throughout this

ritual completed the introductions.
   “Claire… Ned, this is Mr. Lustig.”
    Claire smiled at Dennis Lustig.  Being a girl she could get

away with not shaking his hand.  But I was a boy,,, a young man…

of 16.   I leaned across the table and proffered my limp right hand

to Mr. HIV himself.  Lustig practically leaped to his feet and took

my flaccid paw in his own strong right hand and pumped it

enthusiastically.  My arm undulated like a length of linguine.
     “Ned!  What a pleasure.  Your father tells me you’re now part

of the Lustig litigation team,” he bubbled.  “If you’re anything

like your heroic father, I’m just thrilled to welcome you onboard

our Starship Enterprise.”
     I found it disconcerting the way he stared right into my eyes,

his own a mix of mischievousness and a probing quality, as if over

time he had developed the habit of trying to ascertain what the

people he met really thought about him.  The other disturbing

quality about his eyes was their color… a sort of violet that

seemed at once beautiful in a feminine way and quite unnatural.‘#60*†(†(∞

‘å    “Uh, yuh… I’m pleased to meet you too.”  But of course quite

the opposite was true, and I knew Lustig could see that in my eyes

and feel it in my ‘dead fish’ handshake.
     I pulled back my hand and suppressed the urge to wipe the palm

on my pants leg.  Lustig’s eyes held onto mine for another long

second or two, the obvious amusement in them very disconcerting to

     “And this,” my Dad chimed back in, “is Marsha Milhouse, the

executive director of the Pennsylvania AIDS Law Project, which is

co©counseling Dennie’s case with us.”
     For the first time I noticed the woman sitting to Archie’s

left at the picnic table.  Her hair was brown and cut almost

boyishly short.  Her face was round and full, her body a bit

chunky, maybe even muscular… for a woman, that is.  She smiled,

stood up and shook my hand far more firmly than even Lustig hand

done.  (And his handshake had been pretty firm for a f… I stopped

myself from thinking that word.  That word was for Big Will Hadden

and his fascist father, not for Archie McAdoo’s son.)
     Milhouse also held out her hand to Claire, who took it and

shook it awkwardly.
     “Ned,” said Milhouse, turning her attention back to me and

still standing up, “your father tells me that you’ll be helping

prepare our case for trial this summer.”
     “Uh, yeh, right,” I said somewhat uncertainly. ‘#70*†(†(∞

‘å     “”That’s right, Marsh,” Archie added.  “As Denny so aptly put

it, young Ned, my son and heir, is officially a part of the crew of

the Starship Enterprise.”
     With that, the old man bent over, hoisted his bottle of

Budweiser from the table and toasted me with it. 
     “Welcome aboard, lad,” said Larry Berger, taking a long pull

at his glass of scotch.
     “Here, here,” said ‘Marsh’ Milhouse, picking up her own beer

bottle and taking a swig from it.
     Lustig and Mrs. Berger each picked up some kind of a foamy

pink drink that they had in front of them, gave a little toast in

my direction and took little sips that left flecks of pink foam on

their upper lips.
    Licking off the foam, Lustig added, “I adore your dacquerys,

    I noted furtively out of the corner of my left eye that Mom,

who had remained silent through this whole get©acquainted ritual,

didn’t pick up her drink… a Diet Coke, if I knew my Mother… to

toast my being beamed onboard the Lustig spaceship.  Whatever

planet I was bound for with my Dad and his “team”, Mom was not

making the voyage either in person or in spirit.
     By the time the little ritual was completed the Berger kids

had managed to finish their badminton game and swagger over to the

picnic table.  Archie and Mrs. Berger handled the introductions

among us kids.  ‘Ä%80*†(†(∞

‘å     “The food won’t be ready for another half hour,” added Archie.

“Why don’t the four of you go listen to some tapes in the family

room and get to know each other better?  I’ll give you a shout when

the chow is coming off the grill.”
     The four of us looked at each other a little uncertainly and

shrugged in acceptance of Dad’s suggestion.
     As we turned to head inside, Lustig was on his feet, the eyes

still sparkling their violet mischief.  “I love music,” he

proclaimed.  “Does anybody mind if I tag along?”


‘åôChapter Twelve
     The first few minutes down in the family room were a little

awkward.  The room was pleasantly cool, the old couch and chairs

the most comfortable furniture in the whole house.  Dennis Lustig

had refilled his dacquery glass before leaving the backyard.  The

rest of us got cans of soda from the refrigerator at the foot of

the basement stairs.  The awkwardness began to fade from the room

as we discovered that we all shared a liking for Lou Reed.
     I put the tape on the stereo and soon Lou was half singing,

half speaking, “take a walk on the wild side.”  When Reed reached

the line in the song that says, “he shaved his legs and then he was

a she… take a walk on the wild side,” Lustig, who was sitting

alone in a chair diagonally to the left of the couch where Jasaon

Berger and I were sprawled, looked at us with those weird but

appealing eyes of his and said,
   “He’s gay, you know.”
   There was a moment of awkward silence and surprise. 
   Finally, a second before all the earlier awkwardness could fall

on us like a wet blanket, I responded.
    “Who?  the guy in the song?  Obviously.”  I tried to sound

     “Well, sure, him too,” replied Lustig.  “I meant Lou Reed.”
     Jason apparently had recovered from his initial surprise,

shared I’m sure by all four of us kids, that Dennis Lustig would be

so up front about a subject that was still pretty much taboo in

‘burbs the likes of Havertown.‘’:[1]0*†(†(∞

‘å     “How can you possibly know that?” Larry’s rather pudgy son and

heir asked in a challenging tone of voice. ” I never heard that he

     Lustig flashed Berger the Younger a condescending smirk. 
“Trust me, my dear,” he almost purred, “I make it my business to

know the queens who are making their marks.”
     This deliberate gender switching had a titillating effect on

me, though it clearly made Jason uncomfortable and more defensive.

Claire and Gwen were flipping through Claire’s albums and tapes,

close by one of the stereo’s two speakers.  If they had heard this

dialog they never let on.
     “So √
ƒ do you know?” Jason pressed, crossing his legs and

holding his Diet Coke can with both hands in his lap.
     “How do I know?” Lustig replied in even, velvet tones.  “Well,

young Jason,” he continued after a delicate sip of his daquery,

“first, I would be quite certain of it ©©© even if I didn’t know

Lou personally ©©© merely by his voice, his clothes, his lyrics,

his phrasing… Dear God, it all says, ‘I’m queer as a three dollar

bill and proud of it, darlings.'”
     Of course, it was the parenthetical that had hooked us.
     “You know Lou Reed?” Jason and I seemed to ask simultaneously.

Our duet caught the girls’ attention, and all eyes turned to Dennis

Lustig, who seemed to bask in our gazes as if they were eight

spotlights turned on him.  For the first time I discovered how much

Dad’s pro bono client loved the limelight.

‘åô     For the next ten minutes, Lustig held his little audience in

the palm of his hand, as he described the gay scene in New York and

in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  He told us about the weird behavior and

kinky clothes that were part of “Cruising” in Greenwich Village,

which Al Pacino had dramatized in a scandalous film none of us had

been permitted by our parents to see (although Jason chimed in with

a slightly aggressive assertion that he and a friend had managed to

slip in to see it at a local mall multiplex theater).
     Lou Reed liked to perform in a black t©shirt and a leather,

billed cap that evoked Marlon Brando and motorcycle gangs.  Pacino

had been pictured on the movie posters in such a leather jacket and

cap, the jacket decorated with chains.  I now could picture Dennis

Lustig doffing his restaurant manager’s blue blazer and striped tie

and exchanging them for Reed’s black t©shirt and Pacino’s black cap

and shiny leather motrocycle jacket.  I saw him jingling in his

chains around my mental image of Greenwich Village.  
     Denny… we were all to call him Denny… had a knack for

making eye contact and of speaking in a hypnotic, conspiratorial

purr that kept even a teen’s short attention span in his firm

grasp.  The sense of being given a glimpse of not an “R” but, yes,

an “X” rated movie, and a documentary at that, insured our rapt

attention as he painted verbal images of cowboy bars and wild

parties.  Weaving through all the images were Lou Reed, “queer as

a three dollar bill,” and Denny himself.
     Even Jason had left off challenging Denny’s verasity after the

first five minutes of detailed descriptions, including how Lou‘'<[1]0*†(†(∞

Reed’s creative energy flooded through the front door when he

entered one of the Washington Square watering holes he and Denny

both frequented, announcing his arrival before anyone inside

actually spotted him.  Denny was the smiling, hissing serpent,

feeding us forbidden fruit and we loved it.
    Before we had quite had our fill, Archie shouted from the top

of the basement stairs, “Hey, you guys, dinner’s ready.  Come and

get it  before I eat it all myself.”  With Pop that might be no

idle threat.
    Claire turned off the tape and we all headed upstairs and out

to the backyard.  I was the last to leave the family room, turning

off the lights, as Mom had trained Claire and me to do.  As I

started up the stairs I saw that Denny was waiting at the top.
     As I climbed to where my head was about level with his chest

he put his right hand on my left shoulder and said,
     “You found all that pretty exciting, didn’t you, Ned?”
     My reaction was automatic.  I brushed his hand from my

     “Hey, relax,” said Denny in his most soothing voice.  “I can

tell you’re not cut out to be a sister.  I’m just pleased to see

that the new member of my trial team isn’t homophobic.  I can see

you appreciate the validity of alternative life styles.  That’s

all.”  He stayed where he was, forcing me to brush past him. 

Buy this book at

Why Reforming Education Is a Critical National Priority

Posted in 1966, 2008 Election, aecond amendment, alcohol, alcoholism, animal house, animals, arrest, art, asia, athletics, Barack Obama, baseball, bichons, Biden, Big Business, binge drinking, blogging, Blogroll, books, breaking news, cars, cats, ceo compensation, Christmas, chrysler, Crime, criminal justice, culture, cyberspace, Democrats, diets, divorce, dogs, election, entertainment, environment, films, food, fraternities, gun control, high education, Higher Education, history, hollywood, immigration, intelligent design, international, internet, Israel, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, marriage, mccain, media, medicine, middle east, movies, murder, murder in the 20th century, news, North Pole, pennsylvania, pets, Pigs, Pit Bulls, Polar Express, Politics, pornography, president, Presidential Election, prisons, professors, random, relationships, religion, Republicans, Santa Claus, Sarah Palin, science, science fiction, sciencec, second amendment, shooting, sports, study abroad, technology, Terrorism, time travel, Uncategorized, United Nations, universities, vegans, Vice President, Violence, VTU, war, war on terror, world affairs, writing on December 8, 2008 by castagnera

Why Reforming American Education Is Crucial
By James Castagnera
Attorney at Large
Last week in this space, talking about how to win the war on terror, I asserted, “The American workforce must be better prepared to compete in the global marketplace. When we are through congratulating ourselves on electing our first black president, let’s recall that inner-city high school graduation rates still hover at or below 50 percent in most major metropolises. Colleges are over-priced and inefficiently labor-intensive. We are cranking out too many lawyers and too few engineers and scientists.”
Just as I am convinced that our national security against terrorists rests primarily on good police work, secure borders, and a sensible immigration policy, the proliferation of drug wars, inner-city gangs, and campus crazies persuades me that education — like energy — is a national security issue.  I offer two reasons why.
First, no democracy can feel itself either fair or safe, when it allows an inner-city proletariat to persist and fester from generation to generation.  According to the cover story in the December 8th TIME Magazine, “Young Americans are less likely than their parents were to finish high school.”  Adds the article’s authors, “This is an issue that is warping the nation’s economy and security.”  They are right.
A report issued in April by America’s Promise Alliance and reported on Fox News found high school graduation rates below 50% in America’s 50 largest cities.  According to Fox, “The report found troubling data on the prospects of urban public high school students getting to college. In Detroit’s public schools, 24.9 percent of the students graduated from high school, while 30.5 percent graduated in Indianapolis Public Schools and 34.1 percent received diplomas in the Cleveland Municipal City School District.”
Consider this:  the odds that you or I will be the victim of one of these thousands of high school dropouts is astronomically higher than the chance that one of us will be killed by an international terrorist.  Philadelphia annually averages about 400 homicides, for example.  While many of these killings are drug dealers or gang members taking out their rivals in jungle-land turf battles, the collateral damage in innocent citizens, including kids, is heartbreaking.
We need only glance across our southern border to Juarez, Mexico, to see how much worse it could become.  As early this year as February 28th, the Dallas News reported 72 drug-related murders in Juarez and worried that the violence could begin spilling over the porous border.  In Mexico, the killings include public officials who try to oppose the warring factions.  “Among the dead there: journalists, a city council member and a police chief on the job just seven hours before he was gunned down. Additionally, the cartels tried to assassinate a federal legislator. And efforts to clean up the force have stalled, as nobody wants the job of police chief. Local media self-censors to survive.”  A popular way for cartel killers to communicate their message is to hang a beheaded corpse from a highway overpass.
How great is the distance between Philadelphia and Juarez?  Thousands of miles as the crow flies, but perhaps only a few years away in terms of escalating violence, as our uneducated proletariats turn in increasing numbers to the only livelihood likely to pay them well.
For those who do graduate from high school and hope to come to college, the current financial crisis may pose an insurmountable barrier.  College students already are regularly graduating with five-figure “mortgages” on their diplomas.  Often, if mom and pop are footing the tuition bills, an actual second-mortgage on the family homestead is how the money is raised.  Now, even that undesirable method may be slipping away, as home equity shrinks and major lenders like City Bank flounder.  We’ll have to wait and see whether the college class of 2013, which will come to campus in September ’09, will be substantially smaller than this year’s crop of collegians.  I predict it will be.
Those who can’t afford college probably won’t be working either.  This morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer’s front page reports the highest unemployment rate in 34 years: 6.7% nationally.  More than 500,000 jobs, adds the Inky, evaporated just last month.
More than 100 years ago, the famous defense attorney Clarence Darrow claimed, “There are more people go to jail in hard times than in good times — few people comparatively go to jail except when they are hard up. They go to jail because they have no other place to go. They may not know why, but it is true all the same. People are not more wicked in hard times. That is not the reason. The fact is true all over the world that in hard times more people go to jail than in good times, and in winter more people go to jail than in summer….  The people who go to jail are almost always poor people — people who have no other place to live first and last.”
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, more than 700 people per 100,000.  Only Russia, some of the other states of the former USSR, and a couple of Caribbean countries come close.  Are we stronger on law and order than our sister democracies?  Or are we failing to provide alternatives to crime?
And where lies the greater threat to our security, Afghanistan or the city nearest your home?
[Jim Castagnera, formerly of Jim Thorpe, is a Philadelphia lawyer and writer.  His 17th book, Al Qaeda Goes to College, will be published in the spring by Praeger.]

A Brief History of Hgher Education (Part 4)

Posted in animal house, Big Business, binge drinking, blogging, Blogroll, breaking news, ceo compensation, Crime, criminal justice, cyberspace, fraternities, gun control, high education, Higher Education, history, immigration, intelligent design, international, internet, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, media, news, Politics, professors, religion, science, shooting, study abroad, technology, Terrorism, Uncategorized, universities, Violence, VTU, war on terror, world affairs, writing on November 21, 2008 by castagnera

One significant implication of these many profound changes is that university legal staffs are growing. A 2006 survey by the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) disclosed not only that such staffs are getting bigger, but also that a major reason is an average of 33 open litigation files at any given moment in time per isntitution. The survey revealed that chief legal officers with budgets in excess of $2,000,000 earned on average $240,000 per year, while at schools with smaller legal-office budgets, the average hovered around $130,000. Small schools pay on average $105,000 per year. (Selingo)  In 1961, only about 65 schools had in-house legal counsel, and most of these employed but a single lawyer. Today, membership in NACUA totals more than 3,200. Some of the legal developments that help explain the perceived need for ever-more attorneys in higher education include civil rights and civil liberties issues with their genesis in the sixties and seventies, such as:

“Attempts by colleges and universities, influenced by state political leaders, to suspend or expel students for protesting racial discrimination in higher education. The courts held that students are entitled to due process of law.
“Questions involving the parameters of protest and the protection of unpopular speech and debate about social and political issues. Landmark rulings held that colleges should protect the content of student speech but that reasonable limitations on time, place, and manner of speech and protest — like restrictions that prevent the disruption of academic activities — are appropriate.
“Cases revolving around whether students have the right to associate and form organizations that promulgate unpopular political and social topics. Some historic cases involved unsuccessful attempts by colleges to ban gay-rights organizations and political groups, like the Students for a Democratic Society, that were critical of ‘Americanism.’ Student religious groups also gained access to public campuses’ facilities during this period.
“The freedom of the campus press, redefining it in keeping with the fundamental protections of the First Amendment. Attempts by public colleges to withhold financial support for campus newspapers when their content was deemed distasteful or even loathsome by the administration were rebuffed by the courts.
“Faculty rights in their most basic sense, in cases that questioned the legitimacy of restrictions on academic freedom. For example, a loyalty-oath requirement was found to violate free speech because it limited the scope of a professor’s teaching and research. Faculty members sought the protections of labor laws and the right to bargain collectively.
“Employment-discrimination laws that considered the disparate treatment of minority groups and women in hiring, pay, job assignments, promotion, and the awarding of tenure.
“The formal breakup of racially structured systems of public higher education in Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and at least nine other states.” (Bickel & Ruger)
Issues which today’s top university attorneys predict will be on their front burners as the 21st century moves inexorably ahead include:
-Health & safety issues, including student violence -Government investigations -Race-conscious admissions -Intellectual property rights -Computer law and distance learning -Conflicts of interest -Individual privacy v. public accountability -The graying of the workforce -Employee benefits -Consumer and educational malpractice -Alternative income streams and for-profit ventures -Organized labor
Obviously, these legal issues are not unique to higher education. Neither are the major branches of the law that dictate the rules by which these issues are analyzed and resolved. The sources of these legal principles and rules are:
a.  Constitutions:  The U.S. Constitution defines the structure and powers of the three branches of the federal government, its limitations, and the rights remaining to the states and we the people. All states also have constitutions. These mimic the federal document in many ways, but also contain provisions unique to each one of them. For example, while an individual privacy right implicit in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights has been a controversial issue for decades, some states’ constitutions expressly accord such a right to citizens within their boundaries.
b.  Statutes:  Laws are passed by legislative bodies. At the national level, this of course is the Congress. All states have legislatures as well. Most mimic the U.S. Congress in being bicameral, but a few have but one house. Federal statutes must conform to the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. On an equal footing with these federal laws are Treaties signed by the executive branch and ratified by the U.S. Senate. At the state level, statutes must comport not only with the state’s constitution, but also with the federal constitution and any relevant federal statutes. In some areas federal law almost entirely preempts state law, such as in the fields of intellectual property and employee benefits. In other areas, such as discrimination law, the federal and state legislatures share statutory authority, and states may enact statutes so long as they do not trim back rights provided under federal law. For instance, no federal statute forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, but the laws of a growing number of states do forbid such behavior by employers, landlords and public services. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is one such statute.
c.  Rules and Regulations:  If the universe of codified law can be compared to an iceberg, then the statutes enacted by federal and state lawmakers are only the tip. The vast body of the berg is comprised of a dizzying variety of rules and regulations promulgated by the agencies and offices of the vast federal bureaucracy, its counterparts in the 50 states, and the governmental entities at the county and municipal levels. From labor to discrimination to environmental protection to corporate accountability to zoning, a vast national bureaucracy — much of it staffed by lifetime appointees under civil service rules and union contracts — develops, disseminates and enforces countless rules and regulations. Not only does this bureaucracy mimic the legislatures in propagating such quasi-laws (which, of course, must comport with relevant constitutions and statutes); it also mimics the court system in conducting administrative hearings (typically subject to judicial review).
d. The Common Law:  Our federal and state constitutions, and the plethora of statutes, rules and regulations, are interpreted by our courts. At the federal level, the U.S. Constitution authorizes a court system which today is comprised of U.S. District (trial) Courts scattered across the country and staffed by about 1500 federal judges and magistrates; U.S. Courts of Appeals, divided into 11 geographic regions, plus one for the District of Columbia, and several specialized, mid-level appellate venues, such as the Claims Court; and on top the U.S. Supreme Court.  Most state court systems mirror the federal model. The thousands of decisions and opinions issued and published by these courts, particularly (but not exclusively) the supreme and mid-level appellate courts, are collectively called the American Common Law.  Researching and interpreting this Common Law is something that lawyers spend much of their time learning as law students and doing in practice.
Once upon a time in England, and a little later the United States, Australia, Canada, and many other former colonies of Great Britain, most law was to be found in published and collected court opinions, i.e., the Common Law. Today, as much, if not more, of the body of law is located in the statute books and regulatory manuals of the federal and state bureaucracies, as well as the books of local ordinances enacted by city councils, county commissioners and the like.
The major fields of law, as generally taught by law schools and recognized in legal treatises, are:
a. Contract Law:  Contracts are promises supported by mutual consideration. For example, when your university makes an offer of admission to a student-applicant and that applicant accepts your offer, a contract has been formed. Typically, the current college catalog becomes an implied part of that contract. Contract law was developed by the courts and contained in the common law, where much of it still resides. It is mainly a matter of state, rather than federal law, although the U.S. Constitution specifically insures the enforceability of contracts within U.S. boundaries, and your institution’s federal grants and student financial aid are subject to complex federal contract rules. An important statutory source of contract rules is the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted with minor variations by all 50 states.
b.  Tort Law:  From the Norman French a “tort” roughly means a force or a hurt.  Tort law is personal injury law. With contract law, it may correctly be characterized as one of the two great areas of the common law on the civil (non-criminal) side. Today, as with contract law, statutes and regulations have stepped in to preempt much of what was once exclusively common (judge-made) law. The breadth of tort law is vast, including but not limited to assault and battery, auto accidents, defamation, harassment, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, toxic torts, wrongful discharge and wrongful death. Statutes outlawing discrimination based on such factors as race and sex are in essence a subset of traditional tort law.
c.  Criminal Law:  Contract and tort law share the label “civil law.” They are primarily areas of private law enforcement. Litigants institute law suits, seeking money damages and, sometimes, court orders to establish their respective rights and recover their losses. Criminal law by contrast is the province of the public sector, i.e., the U.S. Department of Justice, the States Attorneys General, and local prosecutors and district attorneys. These officials in close cooperation with federal, state and local police and other law enforcement organizations, investigate crimes and prosecute criminals. Often the statutes that establish crimes and set penalties are intimately connected with tort law on the civil side. For example, when the celebrity O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, he was first tried — and acquitted — of the crime of murder, and subsequently sued by the friend’s family for the tort of wrongful death. In the second trial, which applied not the test of “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” but the diminished standard of “liable by a preponderance of the evidence,” the jury awarded the survivors substantial monetary damages.

4.  The Legal Environment of Academic Administration
Colleges and universities may be grouped into a variety of classifications. With regard to their degree-granting missions, institutions often are classed as: -Community and county colleges awarding two-year degrees such as Associate of Arts; -Four-year colleges granting baccalaureate degrees (B.A., B.S.); -Comprehensive universities granting baccalaureate and masters degrees; -Universities that grant all of the above plus Ph.D.s and/or other so-called terminal degrees such as the J.D. and M.D.
These classifications have legal significance. An institution cannot grant degrees that its accrediting organizations and/or state(s) of incorporation have not yet authorized or approved.
Of equal or greater legal significance is the corporate form the institution has taken. Three major forms define the bulk of American’s 5,000-plus post-secondary institutions today: -Public colleges and universities, organized, owned and operated by the states; -Private, not-for-profit colleges and universities; -Private, for-profit (sometimes called “proprietary”) companies, often either calling themselves universities, or operating subsidiaries under such names (e.g., Apollo Group, a publicly-traded corporation, parent to the University of Phoenix).
Variations on these three general classifications abound. For example, some universities are “state-affiliated,” usually meaning that they receive substantial support from their state legislatures, but operate in main, or even most, respects like private universities, notably in the area of private fund raising and auxiliary enterprises.
Where your institution falls on this spectrum will often determine which law(s) apply to any particular situation. If you work at a public college or university, certain significant provisions of the United States Constitution will directly impact personnel policies, as well as student rights. The Fourteenth Amendment, which requires states to extend due process and equal protection rights to all persons and all U.S. citizens, respectively, incorporates significant elements of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) such as the freedoms of speech, association and religion, and such protections as a shield against unreasonable searches and seizures.
In the field of labor relations, private universities fall under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board, which since 1980 views most faculty as managerial employees who are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act. [See NLRB v. Yeshiva University, 444 U.S. 672 (U.S. Supreme Court, 1980).] Similarly, the NLRB more recently ruled that graduate assistants are primarily students, not employees, and therefore are not entitled to the federal law’s rights and protections in trying to join labor unions and engage in collective bargaining with their universities. [See Brown University, 342 NLRB No. 42 (National Labor Relations Board, 2004).]  By contrast, public (and most state-affiliated) colleges and universities look to their (often more union-friendly) state laws for guidance with regard to labor organizations. Consequently, unionized employees, including faculties, are to be found far more frequently in the public sector than in the private. (Unions are virtually unknown in the for-profit arena of higher education.)
In the realm of illegal discrimination, obligations are more likely to overlap, since federal and state laws tend to include both public and private employers under their regulatory tents. However, the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution accords some measure of immunity to public employers with regard to some types of actions and forms of damages available against private entities. [See Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (U.S. Supreme Court, 1976).]   Likewise with regard to intellectual property, the preemptive powers of the federal government impose a general uniformity across the public-private chasm.
Whether a public or a private institution of higher learning, the typical university is comprised of several schools and/or colleges. Likewise many colleges contain subsidiary schools. Virtually all such institutions have a governing board, typically termed trustees in the private sector, and governors or some similar term in the public realm. Serving beneath a president will usually be her/his cabinet, composed of vice presidents. A typical cabinet of senior officers looks something like this:
-Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, usually the first among equals and the person who stands in when the president is incapacitated or absent on extended business travel.
-Vice President for Finance, also often known as the chief financial officer. This officer’s sphere of responsibilities can include such diverse realms as facilities, campus security, and environmental health and safety, as well such typical functions as payroll and management of the endowment.
-Vice President for Enrollment Management, to whom admissions, financial aid, and related offices report.
-Vice President for Institutional Advancement, formerly called “Development,” and typically subsuming public relations and alumni relations, as well as fund raising.
-Dean of Students and/or Vice President for Student Life (or Student Affairs), who deals with such student issues as food, housing, extracurricular activities, student disciplinary matters, and, increasingly, career counseling and job placement services. The trend in recent years has been for the Dean of Students to report to the Provost, thus drawing Academic Affairs and Student Affairs under a single tent.
Within the Academic Affairs Division, typically, a counsel of deans reports to and serves at the pleasure of the Provost/VP for Academic Affairs.  Each dean heads a school or college of the institution. Under each dean are academic departments, usually headed by department chairs.
The role of the department chair varies vastly from one institution to another, and even sometimes within the colleges and schools of a single university. Some chairs function as highly autonomous managers with significant budgetary and governance discretion, ranging from allocation of workload among the department’s faculty to promotion & tenure recommendations. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some chairs are little more than glorified secretaries, managing the day-to-day paperwork of the department. At this extreme, faculty of the department usually rotate the chair’s duties among themselves. In unionized environments, the chair may be a part of the bargaining unit, and in status be analogous to the “working foreman” who is so common in the construction trades. From a legal standpoint, where a particular chair falls on this spectrum will help determine whether her/his actions can bind the institution with regard to contracts and torts.

A Brief History of Higher Education (part 3)

Posted in 2008 Election, Big Business, breaking news, Democrats, election, fraternities, Higher Education, history, international, internet, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, media, news, Politics, professors, science, study abroad, technology, Uncategorized, universities, VTU, world affairs on November 17, 2008 by castagnera

When and if the shakeout is complete, higher education will not be populated exclusively by e-educators. Nor will the landscape of higher education boast only the largest and wealthiest brick-and-mortar institutions. Rather, as in the past, we should anticipate a mix of liberal arts colleges, land-grant universities, and wealthy private universities, including megaversities, coexisting in rationalized competition with the e-educators and other for-profit entrants of this 21st century wave of institution building.
A mature industry may be defined as, “An industry that has passed both the emerging and the growth phases of industry growth. Earnings and sales grow slower in mature industries than in growth and emerging industries.”( American higher education is in the midst of a profound transformation. Some leaders in higher education contend that it is a mature industry, which must co-exist and compete in the global marketplace, while others argue that its primary role remains as ever a public responsibility to create good citizens.   For some, like Arthur Levine, president of Teacher’s College at Columbia University, college and university education as we know it is a relic of the past, irrelevant to the economic developments and desires for individual career advancement in the global economy. The real business of the “mature industry” of higher education is to serve the marketplace of information economies. This, he claims, can best be done through on-line technology by the profit-making sector. Quaint campuses, classroom lectures, and a community of scholars are irrelevant to the business of education.
For others, higher education has a different purpose, and an historical tradition, that is tied to education for effective citizenship. In this view, higher education should have a central role to play in the health of our democracy but has been deficient in rebuilding the civic life of the country. Our institutions of higher education were shaped in the era following WW II that is not readily adaptable to meeting the need of transforming civic life. The structure, organization, administration, and academic culture of campuses embraced science and technology, emphasized a cult of objectivity and detachment, and elevated the role of the scientifically educated expert over ordinary citizens in public affairs. This ethos of professionalism and expertise that defined higher education’s response to the national crisis of the Cold War now contributes to public disillusionment with institutions that represent and legitimize a system that no longer addresses the most pressing national needs. Ivy towers, inert knowledge, and credentialed students are irrelevant to the civic purpose of education. (Saltmarsh)
Most colleges and universities have attempted to take a middle ground, reforming antiquated practices and encrusted procedures sufficiently to meet the more competitive market of the millennium, while retaining many vestiges of the venerable past, such as faculty tenure and academic freedom. Critics complain that reform for the most part has been thus far a case of too little, too late.
Colleges and universities provide a setting for the contemplative life. The word “school” is derived from the Greek schole, meaning leisure. Efficiency is not always prized on campus, and this spirit has translated to fiscal matters. Bowen (1980) captured the spendthrift philosophy of higher education in his “revenue theory of cost”: “Each institution raises all the money it can” and “spends all it raises” (p. 20).

College costs have escalated for reasons rooted primarily in organizational culture and market forces. Institutions of higher education often have defined quality in terms of resources acquired rather than results achieved (Guskin,1994; Lovett, 2005). Colleges and universities have survived profligacy through monopolistic competition, achieving sufficient differentiation from other institutions by geographic location and programs (Bowen, 1980). But high technology, which supplies the capacity to deliver academic programs at a distance from the physical campus, is eroding the product differentiation so long enjoyed by traditional colleges and universities.
The pressure on institutions to control costs has likely never been greater. Tuition at four-year public institutions in the 2003-04 academic year increased at the highest rate in three decades, an average of 14 percent more than the prior year (Farelle, 2003). State appropriations to public colleges and universities fell 2.1 percent from the 2002-03 fiscal year to the 2003-04 fiscal year–the first decline in 11 years (Hebel, 2004). Colleges and universities, particularly private institutions, are only now recovering from endowment losses in 2002. The National Association of College and University Business Officers’ study of endowment for that year showed that institutions of higher education lost six percent on their investments, marking the first time investments had declined for two consecutive years since 1974 (Lyons, 2003). In company with other employers, colleges and universities struggle with the escalating cost of health care for employees. Health insurance premiums rose 13.9 percent in 2003, the third consecutive year of double-digit increases (Basinger, 2003).
Institutions of higher education confront many barriers to cost control. Perhaps the most basic impediment is poor cost information. Progress toward improved costing for higher education was advanced in the 1970s by the work of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), but the cost systems proposed by NCHEMS largely were abandoned in the affluence of the 1980s (Turk, 1992). Day (1993) noted “no general consensus on costing methodology in higher education” (p. 13). Even now internal management reports focus on salaries, travel, and research costs, and generally ignore such indirect costs as facilities and administration.
Higher education is also a labor-intensive endeavor, making gains in productivity more difficult and exposing institutions to the spiral of benefit costs. Moreover, consensus management continues to pervade academic administration and bring inefficiency to the decision-making process (Zemsky and Massy, 1990)(Adams).
Faced with these pressures, colleges and universities are: -Competing harder than ever for students, as well as grants and gifts; -Seeking to control and exploit intellectual property that, once upon a time, was left to faculty to promulgate as they saw fit; -Growing and expanding, often at the expense of competing institutions and for-profit providers of post-secondary education; -Streamlining operations where possible, such as by bringing Student Life divisions under the umbrellas of Academic Affairs; hiring more adjunct and non-tenure-track full-time faculty; offering accelerated degree programs, sometimes at the expense of traditional core requirements; and
-Being all things to all potential students, such as by offering on-line courses, professional certifications, and remote-site alternative facilities.

History of Higher Education (Part 2)

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The fifth wave is breaking on global shores. “The age of the Internet and other new media forms is giving rise to a new wave of institution building, right before our eyes . . . . Ours is an extraordinary moment in history” (Cox 2000, p. 17). What is it we may expect to observe and experience among the phenomena of this new era? Among the main indicia of this new wave are the following:
Some observers predict a shakeout of weaker institutions as the current expansion leads inevitably to a concomitant contraction. Others have noted the persistence of even the weakest among first-wave colleges, as the following article illustrates.
[Start of Box]

The Mice That Roar: Small, Sectarian Colleges Resist
Efforts to Extinguish Them
By Jim Castagnera
The Greentree Gazette, May 2007
I first met Jim Noseworthy early in the present decade at a workshop on serving disabled students.  The program was put on by the University of New Hampshire’s extension division at a hotel outside Washington, D.C.  Serendipity put the Doctor of Ministry, whose prominent proboscis fits his surname, at the same table as I.  We lunched together and hit it off, and after that kept in sporadic contact.
In August 2003, after sharing a recent op-ed piece of mine with Jim, he wrote back to me, “I have left the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and now serve as president of United Methodist-related Hiwasee College in Madisonville, Tennessee.”  His missive on Hiwassee College stationery continued, “I moved in February to a situation which is both challenging and delightful.  I am glad to be back on campus and working with such marvelous individuals as we shape the future of this two-year college.”
If the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools gets its way, Hiwassee College has no future.
SACS’s Commission on Colleges is the accrediting body for higher education institutions in 11 southern states, including Tennessee.  Senior Fellow Jon Fuller of the National Association of Colleges and Universities describes SACS as “the most rigid and bureaucratic of the six national accrediting organizations.”  He adds that SACS has a tough task, because, “The South has more fragile institutions as a percentage of its higher education stock than any other region of the country.”
Absent the SACS imprimatur a college is cut off from federal financial aid funds.  For a college like Hiwassee, whose fewer-than-500 rural students almost all rely on substantial financial aid, such a sanction is fatal.  SACS, however, is finding that Hiwassee is hard to kill.
Hiwassee, which awards associate degrees, was first accredited by SACS in 1958.  That accreditation was confirmed most recently in 2000.  The Reaffirmation Committee noted that at the millennium Hiwassee had many “financial challenges.”  The committee’s report cited deferred maintenance, projected-revenue shortfalls, and inter-fund borrowing among those “challenges.”  SACS required a follow-up report.  When that document failed to meet the accreditor’s criteria, Hiwassee was issued a warning and required to submit yet another 12-month status report.  In December 2002, following review of this second report, SACS placed Hiwassee on probation.  The beleaguered college submitted its third report in December 2003, Meanwhile, a so-called Special Committee conducted a site visit to the Monroe County campus.
The college’s accreditation crisis came to a head on January 16, 2004, the date on a SACS letter which informed the Reverend Noseworthy and his staff, “With its upcoming review in December 2004, your institution will have exhausted its probationary status and its period of continued accreditation for good cause.  At that time, the institution must be determined to be in compliance with all of the Principles of Accreditation or be removed from membership.”  Yet another Special Committee visited Hiwassee in mid-October 2004.  The committee’s report was damning.  On December 4th Hiwassee defended itself at a Compliance Committee meeting, but the committee voted to remove accreditation.  On February 24, 2005, an Appeals Committee affirmed academic capital punishment for Hiwassee.
However, reports of Hiwassee’s demise proved premature.  The college took its case to the federal courts.  On March 22, 2005, Judge Thomas Vartan of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Tennessee issued a temporary restraining order, restoring Hiwassee’s accreditation.  “This is good news,” Rev. Noseworthy modestly understated this early victory.  The case then was transferred to the federal court for Northern Georgia, home to SACS headquarters.
On February 5, 2007, following extensive pre-trial discovery and a hearing, Senior District Judge Owen Forrester issued his ruling.  In many aspects his honor’s 18-page decision goes against Hiwassee.  For example, he rejects the college’s contention that “the entanglement between the (U.S.) Department of Education and SACS in its role as an accrediting agency under the Higher Education Act” makes SACS a “state actor” subject to the 14th Amendment’s “due process” clause.  On the other hand, Judge Forrester finds that SACS must be held to common-law principles of fair play.
Having so held, his honor goes on to conclude that a conflict of interest was created when Appeals Committee member Ann McNut suffered a family emergency and was replaced by Jimmy Goodson, a voting member of the Commission on Colleges.  Since he had already voted to withdraw Hiwassee’s accreditation, ruled Judge Forrester, “Mr. Goodson did have a conflict of interest and should not have served on the appeals panel.”
Comments President Noseworthy, “We have prevailed on one of the several issues of our case.”  However, Judge Forrester found in favor of SACS on many another issue.  More ominous is the district judge’s observation that “it is significant to the court that Hiwassee has never front-on challenged the ultimate decision of SACS that Hiwassee failed to come into compliance….” This bit of dicta may prefigure the ultimate outcome of the case, which remains pending as this article is written.  On March 16th, Jim Noseworthy wrote to me, “We are awaiting additional action by the judge in the case….” With characteristic aplomb, reminiscent of his 2003 letter, he added, “Hiwassee is a great place to be!”
Hiwassee College is not the only great little place under fire for financial instability.  SACS has also been gunning for Edward Waters College in Jacksonville.  In 2005 the historically black institution, like Hiwassee, won an injunction in federal court, staving off implementation of the accrediting agency’s decision to withdraw recognition.  News photos depicted some of the school’s 900 students marching with signs that said, “EWC must survive!”  Fuller of NAICU commented, “A new chapter is opened.  It’s going to require accreditors to question some of their procedures.”
Elsewhere it’s not accreditors but donors who are putting pressure on the Lilliputians of our industry to reform or perish.  For instance recent reports out of Omaha, Nebraska, tell of Howard L. Hawks, a major donor to both Midland Lutheran College and nearby Dana College, who has advised the two tiny schools to merge duplicative academic and administrative functions or lose his support.
These developments beg the question, “Do such small-enrollment, under-endowed private colleges have a place in the highly competitive, globalized higher education arena?”  I asked that question of NAICU’s Jon Fuller.  He explained that from Eastern Kentucky’s Pikesville College to New Jersey’s Bloomfield College, these small schools serve local communities “where people grow up with a limited sense of what’s possible.”  In other words, absent the Bloomfields, Pikevilles, and Hiwassees, many of these minority and/or rural youngsters would never go to college.
Fuller adds that both federal and accreditation standards use financial stability as a place-holder for quality education, since the latter is difficult to measure.  “The fed doesn’t want to have to clean up if a college closes suddenly.  What isn’t considered is that many of these schools have been around 100 or 150 years, and I doubt they were ever any less fragile than they are today.  Yet they always have a hard time meeting such standards.”
I suggested to Fuller that the pluckiness of these colleges reminds me of the tiny nation in the Peter Sellers film, “The Mouse that Roared.”  He retorted, “They remind me of bumble bees.  Measure the wingspan and the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly.  Since it does fly, there must be other factors we are failing to measure.”
With regard to the Hiwassees of our world, Fuller cited “deep loyalty” from alumni and “faith communities,” a willingness to sacrifice on the parts of administrators, faculty and even students, and — perhaps most significant where the likes of Jim Noseworthy and Hiwassee are concerned —- “an ethic which says, attend to the needs of today and somehow tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Concludes Fuller, “At a time when the Spellings Commission is concerned with degree completion and eight Asian and European nations boast higher percentages of college graduates than the U.S., it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to mess with these colleges.”
Source:  The Greentree Gazette, May 2007 (Reprinted with permission of the Greentree Gazette: The Business Magazine of Higher Education.)