Archive for the gun control Category

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”

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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.]

Serialization: Why My Dad Hates Ice Cream (3)

Posted in arrest, art, blogging, Blogroll, books, Crime, criminal justice, culture, entertainment, films, gun control, Higher Education, history, internet, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, media, medicine, movies, murder, news, novels, pennsylvania, Politics, pornography, prisons, professors, random, relationships, religion, Terrorism, Uncategorized, universities, Violence, world affairs, writing on December 3, 2008 by castagnera

Chapter Three
The next morning ©©© Friday ©©© my alarm went off and I was
out of bed half an hour sooner than usual.  I slipped downstairs as
quietly as I could and out the front door.  The rain had stopped
sometime during the night and the temperature had dropped, so that
a bitter wind waited to wish me good morning.  I gritted my teeth
and darted down the steps and onto the black macadam driveway, only
to discover, too late to spare my bedroom slippers from the puddles
that hadn’t quite iced over, that the newspaper wasn’t there
waiting for me.
I looked at the front lawn and down the drive into the street,
my eyes squinting against the knifing winter wind.  My old
terrycloth robe flapped above and below its cloth belt.  There was
no Inquirer to be seen on our property, though I noted that both
our neighbors had received theirs.  For a furtive instant I thought
to tiptoe over to one or another of their drives and ‘borrow’ a
paper.  But, thinking quickly that I might be spotted (or at the
very least, suspected), I turned and hustled back into our house.
I closed the heavy oak door behind me and then heard the soft
shuffling of feet coming from the kitchen.  My own feet squished a
little as I padded out there myself, rounding the corner into the
doorway in time to see Archie’s back disappear onto the enclosed
back porch Mom called our ‘sun room.’
I walked across the kitchen, passed the round oak table where
we McAdoos ate most of our meals together, and stepped ‘     Ä%
0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘åquietly down the single step into the sun room.  Pop sat at the
little cast iron and glass coffee table a few feet away with the
morning paper spread out in front of him.  He sipped steaming
coffee from his big white mug with the cavalry charge motto as he
gazed intently at the right hand page of the paper lying in front
of him.  He had a sort of contented smile on his face, his lips
moved ever so slightly as he read, and he never even noticed me
enter the room.
Tiptoeing around behind the rattan sofa where Pop was sitting,
I bent over and read from over his right shoulder.  The article was
at the top of page B1, which made it the lead article in the
Inquirer’s business section.  The headline, which covered the two
columns on the right hand side of the page, read “Former Night
Manager Sues Popular Bucks County Restaurant for AIDS
Discrimination.”  The byline said “Jane Putnam, Inquirer Staff
The piece explained how Dennis Lustig of New Hope, who had
been first a cook for two years, then night manager of Freeman’s
Farm Dairy Bar and Restaurant for another three and a half, claimed
that he had been fired in early December, after he reported to the
owners  of the restaurant that his three©day absence was HIV
related. The article went on to quote “Philadelphia attorney
Archibald McAdoo” to the effect that, “This isn’t exactly a
lawsuit.  The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, under which we are
initiating this charge of discrimination, requires that Mr. Lustig‘     Ä%
0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
first put his case before the state’s human relations commission
for investigation.
“However, unless the agency acts promptly to remedy this clear
injustice, Mr. Berger and I intend to request a ‘right to sue’
letter and take our client’s case into the Bucks County Court of
Common Pleas by late summer.”
The story pointed out that “Attorneys Berger and McAdoo have
agreed to represent Lustig for free at the request of the AIDS Law
Project of Philadelphia, which organization will provide co©counsel
for the case.  The project’s executive director, Marsha Milhouse,
added, ‘This is a test case… a case of first impression for the
PHRC and ultimately, as we expect, for the courts.  Therefore, we
are girding ourselves for a long fight.  In the end, we expect to
win and to make important new law in the process.”
“A long fight”, I thought.  “Just what Mom wants to hear.”
I must have mumbled the thought out loud, because Archie
jumped a little and turned around so swiftly that he spilled coffee
onto the newspaper, spattering the bottom half of his precious
claim to immortality.
“Ned, what the devil are you doing there?” he squawked at me
in the near©falsetto his voice rose to when he was excited or
“Sorry, Pop,” I quickly replied. “I just didn’t want to
disturb you.”  I shuffled to my left and out from behind the couch.
Archie turned back to his newspaper to find the litle puddles of‘     Ä%          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
spilled coffee spreading like microorganisms in the porous
“Look what you made me do, Ned,” he said in a voice about an
octave lower, looking across his left shoulder at me as I continued
my retreat out of the room and back to the kitchen.
“Hey, Pop,” I replied, plucking up a teenager’s smart©mouthed
courage, “you might be better off covering that whole article with
coffee.  Especially that part about a long fight ahead.”
The best defense really is a good offense, as I’ve confirmed
in my own legal practice a couple of times already.  Archie’s voice
immediately lost its angry edge.  “What do you mean?” he asked, but
I think he already knew.  He was just hoping against hope that the
problem with Mom wasn’t so serious that even his 16©year©old whelp
recognized it so plainly.
“Mom’s not going to like that part of it,” I responded,
confirming Archie’s own fear.
His whole round face, pock marked like a cantelope skin from
teenage acne, seemed to droop slightly, especially his round,
watery blue eyes, confessing his concern about how he was going to
see his new commitment through and continue to live in reasonable
harmony with his wife, my mother.
He turned back to the article and I fancied he was considering
my suggestion of dumping the rest of his coffee onto the newspaper.
I turned round and stepped through the doorway into the
kitchen, almost bumping into Mom.  I was as tall as she was already
back then, even though she was of above average height for a woman.‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
(Archie used to call her “my ultimate skinny woman”, which she
pretty much was.)  Our eyes met and hers seemed as tired as they
had seemed the evening before, as if she had not slept, or at least
not very well.  Her curly red hair was a little wild looking, like
she hadn’t combed it yet.  Without a word she squeezed past me in
the doorway and joined Archie out in the sun room.
I went back to the center hall, up the stairs and headed for
the bathroom.  I was about to go into the bathroom when Claire’s
door opened and she said, “Hey, Ned.”  It was my turn to be a
little startled.  I turned round and saw her head, the hair every
bit as red and curly as Mom’s, poking out of her doorway.
“Ned, what’s up?  Did Dad make the paper?”
“Oh, yeah,” I replied.  “He’s in there, alright.  Page one of
the business section.  I’d say he made it big time.”
“What do you think Mom’s gonna do?” she inquired, opening her
bedroom door a little bit wider, so that I could see she was
wearing the new pink robe she’d received for Christmas.
“Don’t know,” I said.  “But she’s down in the sun room with
ol’ Arch right now.  I guess she’s just about had time to read the
At that instant we heard a loud bang, which we both had come
to recognize as the sun room door slamming shut, as it sometimes
did in the summertime, when all the room’s windows would be wide
open and a sudden summer breeze might bang it closed.  The next
sounds were footsteps coming quickly through the center hall and‘     Ä%          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
starting up the stairs, footsteps too quick and light to be
Archie’s.  Mom was headed back upstairs.
The last thing I saw, before I closed and locked the bathroom
door, was Claire quickly closing her bedroom door.  From inside the
bathroom, just a wall away from the master bedroom, I heard Mom
enter that chamber and slam that door behind her, too.
I busied myself with showering and brushing my teeth and blow©
drying my hair.  Oddly, unlike most school days, nobody banged on
the door, trying to rush me along in order to take a turn in the
only bathroom on the second floor of our three bedroom colonial.
When I was all through with my morning ‘toilet’, as they used
to say in olden days, I poked my head out of the bathroom,
ascertained that the coast was clear and scooted down the hall and
into my bedroom  to get dressed.  Then I walked quietly downstairs
and back to the kitchen, where I encounterd Claire for the second
time.  She pointed toward the sunroom.  Looking through the glass
of the still©closed door, I saw Archie sitting by himself on the
sofa, turned slightly to the right, so that his face wasn’t visible
from where Claire and I stood.  I went to the refrigerator and
looked for the brown bag with my lunch in it.
“No lunches,” Claire declared quietly.
“Guess we’re buying today, huh?” I responded.
“Yeh, guess so,” she said.  “Mom’s already gone.  She must have
forgot to make them.”
“Think we ought to say goodbye to Dad?” she inquired.‘     Ä%          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘å     I thought about that for a second. “Nope. I think we better
leave him alone.  You got lunch money, Sis?”
“I’m okay,” she said.  “Thanks.”
We shouldered our backpacks and headed for the front door.
I don’t know what Claire’s thoughts were.  But I was thinking,
“This is gonna be a long year.”

‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘åChapter four
Just how bad the year ahead was going to be was brought home to
me that very first day at the high school.  The morning went by
uneventfully.  In fact, I forgot all about Archie and his new case.
A little before noon my homeroom class went down to the cafeteria
for lunch.  I had hardly sat down at one of the long lunchroom
tables with my tray when I heard a voice say from the table behind
“Hey, McAdoo, how do you like it that your old man has a
diseased queer for a client?”
As I turned round on the little round stool that was bolted
right onto the table, the lunchtime chattering around me came to an
abrupt halt.  Grinning at me from the other side of the table
behind mine was Will Hadden… all 200 offensive tackle, unlimited
weight class wrestler, pounds of him.  The spaces between his teeth
were crammed with fragments of the Phillie cheesesteak he was
Huge and powerful as he was, Will Hadden fooled the
uninitiated.  His baby face, fair skinned and freckled, made him
seem to be ©©© at worst ©©© a big friendly young Kodiak bear.  But
those of us who had followed Will Hadden’s career on and off the
playing fields and wrestling mats of Haverford High for the past
four years knew that the big friendly bear could (and gladly would)
smash in the side of your face with one of his great paws and never
alter the foolish grin during the exercise.
Consequently, when I saw the source of the remark I became as‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
thoroughly panicked as was Archie when trying to reply to one of
Mom’s more caustic and challenging jibes.  The panic I, like most
of my classmates, normally experienced when even approached by ‘Big
Bill’ Hadden was intensified by the fact that I didn’t really
understand his question.
Under such confusing and frightening circumstances… and
still almost five years away from the start of the legal training
which hopefully one day will enable me to fashion a crushing retort
to any bully’s challenge … “I beg your pardon,” was the best I
could come back with.  I phrased the words in the finest tradition
of top©track Haverford High students expressing their disdain for
the school’s jocks.  But the patronizing tone rolled off Big Will’s
back like so much rain off of the Kodiak he was.
“You heard, Ar© chee© bald,” he replied, the food©filled
grin as intense and menacing as ever it was.  “I want to know, Mr.
Hot©shot Honor Student, whether you’re happy that your old man is
the lawyer for that faggot up in Bucks County.  Are you proud your
old man represents perverts or what?”
Suddenly it hit me: the Lustig case!  He was referring to the
Lustig case.  I had put the morning’s news story so thoroughly out
of my mind since arriving at school that having it thrown back in
my face, and by no less a villain than Big Will Hadden was as close
to a genuine moment of pure misery as I had come since striking out
in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded during a little
league playoff game when I was just twelve.
‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘å      My response was even more lame than the one before it.
“Uh, I don’t really know any more about the case than what was in
this morning’s paper,” I said, the patronizing tone now completely
absent from my voice.  I vaguely hoped against all hope that this
functional equivalent of “no comment” would stall Big Will’s
It didn’t even slow him down.
“Okay, Dork,” he pressed on, as he was justly famous for
pressing forward on the football field behind our high school
building when he cleared a path for one of our running backs.
“Maybe you can tell all of us this:  Has your old man always been
a fag©lover?  Or is this something new for him, representing
fruiters against honest, hard©working business people?”
Whatever else Big Will was, he was not the kind of kid to use
turn phrases like “honest, hard©working business people.” And he
certainly wasn’t the type to scan over the business section of the
morning’s Inquirer before catching the school bus.  No, the ideas
he was spouting with such venal pleasure now had to have originated
with √
ƒ old man, the infamous Henry P. Hadden, owner of Manoa
Candy Convections, a/k/a the bubble gum factory on Eagle Road, and
a past©president of the Haverford Township School Board.
Realizing this, however, did not help me much with my dilemma,
which was to say something… real soon… that would prevent me
from being humiliated in front of my friends ©©©who sat in silence
around my table, watching this unexpected confrontation run its
course ©©© on the one hand, and avoid my getting my lights punched‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
out on the other.  This would be no small feat, even for the
president of the “Future Lawyers of America” club… which, by the
way, I was not.
“My dad is just trying to help a guy who’s in trouble and
can’t afford a lawyer,” I finally responded without very much
ƒ  “Lawyers do what he’s doing all the time.  It’s called
pro bono publico … for the good of the public,” I added, trying
to recapture a little of my top©academic©track sense of
“That’s bull, Ar©chee©bald,” Hadden shot back, a morsel of
greasy©looking salami clinging to the corner of his sneering lower
lip.  “My dad says your old man is probably some kind of closet
queer himself, on top of being a crappy lawyer.”
Well, if Big Will Hadden had achieved nothing else with those
remarks, he had certainly succeeded in solving my dilemma.  He
left me with no choice.  There was only one thing for me to do,
unless I wanted to drop out of high school and take a job flipping
burgers at the MacDonald’s three blocks from our house.
Like a man going to his execution, and with no greater choice
in the matter, I jumped up, scrammbled clumsily over the trays of
half©eaten spaghetti and half©drunk milk and juice cartons on the
table in front of my nemisis, and leaped onto Big Will with all the
momentum I could muster from that awkward position.
So startled must the point man of Haverford High’s football
juggernaut have been that he didn’t even get his arms up as he‘     Ä%          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
tumbled off his stool and landed with a mushy ‘thump’ on the
linoleum floor, my 132 pounds right on top of him.
But if my fatalistic act of courage had taken Big Will by
surprise, his shock gave way to rage real fast.  For once the
menacing grin was gone, as he wordlessly raised his big right fist
and clouted me soundly on my left eye.  The blow sent me rolling
off of him and into the lower legs of some of the students who had
instantaneously crowded round the two of us to watch what all
anticipated … as did I … would be my imminent execution.
A few cries of “Let the little faggot have it, Will,” and such
other sporting sentiments were voiced by the friends and pig skin
colleagues of Big Will.  I didn’t hear any words of encouragement
from my fellow members of the Haverford High Honor Society as I
reflexively covered my throbbing left eye with both hands and
waited for the rest of Hadden’s inevitable retribution.
Being half blind and wholly terrified, I was perhaps the last
person in Big Will’s general vicinity to comprehend that he wasn’t
coming at me to finish the job of pulverizing my face.  I
distinctly heard deep moaning sounds, which in my confused and
painful condition, I at first assumed were coming from me.  It took
a couple of seconds for me to figure out that the moans were coming
from somewhere really close to me on my right.
At the same time it began to sink into my throbbing skull that
the shouts of encouragement to finish off another Haverford honor
student had been replaced by a barrage of incredulous questions and
comments coming from those kids closest to Hadden and myself.‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘å     “Will, what’s the matter?”
“Hey, come on, man.  Get up.”
“He’s not getting up.”
I rolled over onto my right side and looked at Big Will Hadden
through my tear©filled right eye.  I saw to my shock and surprise
the blurry image of Hadden’s big, beefy face contorted in pain.
His mouth, so recently set in his trademark grin, now was cotorted.
Moans were all that came forth from those full lips that had been
sneering at me just moments earlier.
I more sensed than saw the mob of students surrounding us
spread apart, as a pair of grey flannel trousers above black, wing™tip shoes approached from Big Will’s right.  I looked up with my
one good eye and saw Mr. John Brennan, Haverford High’s assistant
principal bend down and peer quizzickly at the moaning and groaning
star lineman.

‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘åôChapter five
The day that had turned sour by lunchtime proved itself to be
a complete, and seemingly unredeemable, disaster before the school
day was ended. John Brennan’s hasty interrogation and cursory
examination of Big Will Hadden resulted in a decision to call
Havertown’s volunteer ambulance company and have Will transported
to the community hospital on West Chester Pike.  And since I was
still sitting there on the floor next to my adversary, covering my
left eye with both hands, the emergency response team dragged me
along to the emergency room too.
Once there I received quick treatment and was told to contact
a family member to come and drive me home.  The head nurse in the
ER let me use her phone.  I dialed Archie’s private line into his
study and caught him working at his desk.  I explained the
situation as concisely as I possibly could and he agreed to come
right over for me.
Sure enough, he arrived quickly, although not quickly enough
to save  me from learning the crushing news that Big Will had
suffered some sort of back sprain which would have him on his back
and out of action for the next week or so.  This would mean just
one thing to every jock and coach at Haverford High:  Hadden would
not be weighing in as the Big Red’s heavyweight hero in tomorrow
night’s crucial match against our arch rivals, Lower Merion High
School.  Haverford kids hated their tonier rivals from
Philadelphia’s Main Line and loved being able to hand them a defeat
in any sport, even a relatively minor one like wrestling.  And Big‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
Will, so crucial to our gridiron offense, was usually a sure thing
in his ‘unlimited’ weight class in our once©yearly meet with Lower
Merion as well.
And I, Archibold Edwin (a/k/a Ned) McAdoo IV, had not only been
publicly branded a homosexual in front of most of my best friends,
but I had insured my status of personna non grata by taking Big
Will out of the Saturday night wrestling lineup.  Black Friday it
was for me, and I made the ten minute ride home in Archie’s Honda
Accord in absolute, destitute silence.  I ignored all the old man’s
inquiries, and when we reached our driveway, I hopped out of the
car and went straight into the house, upstairs and into my room,
locking the door behind me.
I threw myself onto the bed and did something I had not done
for at least a couple or three years.  I sobbed into my pillow, and
when I could cry no more, I just lay there with my good eye
squeezed tightly shut against the twilight coming in through the
west facing window.  My blackened left eye was swollen shut.  In
the darkness I unsuccessfully tried to block out the even blacker
thoughts that crowded in on me.
I’m not sure how long I lay there like that, before I was
roused from the depths by a light tap©tap©tap©tap on my door.
I rolled over onto my back.  Tap©tap©tap, again.
“Yeah, who’s there? ” I inquired in a tone which really
translated as “Go away and leave me be.”
“It’s your father,” came the soft reply.  “Can we talk…
please?” ‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘å     I got up onto my elbows.  This wasn’t what I wanted right now,
but I didn’t see much choice.  I got up off the bed, walked to the
door and unlocked it.  Archie came in and sat down in the black
vinyl chair next to my desk.  I went back and sat on the edge of my
bed.  The atmosphere of unspoken emotions in the room was as thick
as a London fog (something I wouldn’t experience until my junior
year in college).
Archie engaged in his usual ritual of throat clearing.  Pop was
a pathetic disciplinarian.  Mom usually administered the
punishments when we were growing up.  Even a good tongue©lashing
was a tough act for Arch to put on.  But here it comes, I
thought… the perfect finale to a perfect day.
“Ned,” he began in a voice which actually trembled a little.
“Ned, I just got off the phone with the assistant principal, Mr.
Archie paused and rubbed one big, meaty hand over his face,
which I suddenly realized was wet with sweat… or something.
He resumed, “Ned, from what Mr. Brennan told me, well, it sounds
like I’m responsible for that black eye of yours.”
I was shocked.  I realized that, unbelievably, the old man had
come not to punish but to apologize.  He was staring down at his
size twelve©and©a©half, scuffed brown wingtips and nervously
rubbing his hands on his trouser legs.
“Ned… son…”  He was actually choked up. “I… I never
meant for this Lustig thing to cause you or Claire or your mother
any grief.  Oh, I knew it would make your Mom a little upset.‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘åBut I really didn’t know the case would have this kind of effect in
the community, or… or certainly not on your life.
“Son,” he said, “I’m sorry.”

‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘åôChapter Six
Looking back from the perspective of more than a decade, I see
a comical pair of guys facing each other across the few feet which
separated the desk chair from the foot of my bed.  In my mind’s eye
my dad is a Buddha in a business suit:  large and round of face and
belly and thighs, his feet tucked beneath the chair’s seat, crossed
at the ankles, beefy hands resting in his lap, his whole great
carcass seeming to be on the verge of a melt©down into a huge blob
on the floor.
And I am a sorry looking sixteen©year©old, hair dishevelled,
left eye swollen shut and surrounded by a mixture of putrid colors,
about half of Archie’s weight and still several inches shorter than
he was.
I favored Mom in her thinness, and the length and straightness
of her nose.  Unfortunately I favored my father in that my face was
sprinkled with half a dozen zits in various stages of development
or decline.
Staring at the carpet near my sneakered feet, Archie continued
talking softly, deliberately, as if considering every word.
“Ned, I’ve spent my whole life ©©© 45 years ©©© feeling
different.  In school I was always the fattest kid in the class.”
He shuffled his large buttocks on the vinyl seat, which was smaller
than they were, as if he was anxious about tipping off the chair.
“In high school and college I was the guy with the biggest and
nastiest©looking pimples.  The Haverford High bully used to lay for
me, too. His name was Herman Hilderbrand, incidentally.  He used to‘      ‘          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
call me ‘Ol’ King Clearasil.’  He once told me I was nothing but a
200©pound sack of pus.’  In college I stayed a virgin longer than
any other guy in my fraternity.”
At that point he looked up and his eyes met mine.  We both
blushed a little and found ourselves smiling at one another.
“I guess I went to law school because I thought being a
lawyer would give me the self©confidence and the weapons to fight
back a little better against a hostile world.  Instead I discovered
that under extreme pressure ©©© such as in a courtroom ©©© I break
into a stutter.
“That little surprise came during my second semester at
Temple Law, when we all had to finish off our first year with an
oral argument for moot court.  I barely got through it.  After that
I thought about dropping out.  But I stayed with it, though I
didn’t study very hard after that.”
Archie reached into his back pocket and dragged a handkerchief
out.  He blew his big, red nose really hard, then opened the
handkerchief to inspect the results… a habit of his that had
always disgusted me.  Seemingly satisfied with the results, he
rolled the end product up in the hanky and jammed it back into his
pants pocket.
“A two©three GPA from Temple didn’t get you many job offers
back then, anymore than it would today I guess.  Anyway, that’s why
I ended up in a solo practice right back here in my home town.  I
was lucky that a working girl ©©© your Mom ©©© would have me. ‘     Ä%¬         0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
Otherwise I probably would never have been able to afford a house
and a family.”
Archie reached back toward the pocket where he kept his hanky
and I thought, “Oh, no, he’s gonna blow it again.”  But this time
he just readjusted the handkerchief, and then shifted his rear end
a little on the shiny black vinyl seat, his buttocks making a
squeaking noise on the seat.  He looked at me a little embarrassed,
as if fearful that I thought the sound was him breaking wind…
another nasty habit of Archie’s, when he thought no one was paying
any attention.
As for me, I seemed to be noticing all these little details of
my Dad’s behaviour… in fact, can see them clearly still across
the gap of a dozen very busy years… as if the day’s traumatic
events had left me with new found powers of concentration.  I can’t
recall shuffling my feet or interrupting Archie’s monologue even
“Ned, I know your Mother thinks this Lustig case is just one
more of my follies, like the time I took three months off from the
practice to try and write that mystery novel.”  He paused a second,
as if considering his opponent’s argument, and perhaps finding it
to have merit.  “And I have to admit there are some similarities.
What I mean is, part of this is another try at amounting to
something better than just a small town attorney.  I have to admit
that.”  He was staring at that spot on the carpet just in front of
my feet again, shaking his head back and forth ever so slightly.‘     Ä%          0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘å     Suddenly he raised his head and caught my eyes with his big,
watery blue ones.  The intensity of his gaze startled me a little
“But, Ned, there’s a lot more to it than that.  Ned, son,
Dennis Lustig is in his special way different, the way I’ve always
felt a little different in mine.  First of all he’s gay…
not a ‘queer’ or a ‘faggot’, by the way, no matter what that Hadden
kid or his neo©Nazi father may want to call him.”  Was this passion
I was seeing in Pop’s face, hearing in his voice?  I straightened
up and returned his stare with my one open eye.
“Additionally, son, Lustig is sick.  He’s HIV positive.  Do you
understand what that means.”
Trying to reply, I realized I had been listening silently all
this time and had never cleared the phlegm that had accumulated on
my throat when I had been sobbing on my pillow a few minutes
earlier.  I cleared it now.
“Sure, Dad.  I know.  Everybody knows about HIV and AIDS.
They teach us about them at school.”
“You say that with such certainty, Ned.  But, you know, just
four or five years ago, not one American in a hundred could have
told you what either one of those conditions was.  Even today,
about all that’s known is that its usually sexually transmitted,
there’s no cure, and so if you get it, it’ll eventually kill you.”
Another pause, then, “That’s what Denny Lustig lives with
every day now.  It’s what’s waiting for him when he wakes up in the‘     Ä%!         0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
morning.  And now he’s been denied the dignity of even holding a
“That’s the other reason I took this case, Ned.  Just once I
want to do something that really matters in the scheme of things.
This disease, this AIDS thing, is gonna be around for a long time.
It’s gonna hurt a lot of people.  People, such as their employers,
can make things better for these victims, or like Freeman’s Dairy
Bar, they can make it much, much worse.  The law should protect the
Dennis Lustigs.  That’s part of why I became a lawyer in the first
place.  I sort of lost sight of that for… ”
He smiled a little, at himself I guess. “…for the past 19
years.  Can you understand what I’m trying to say, son?”
This time it was my turn to shift my bottom around a little
nervously, and to clear my throat again.  A swirling mixture of
images and emotions filled my head.  I felt both anger and
something new… respect? …
“Yeh, Pop, I understand.  But…”
“But, like your Mom, you didn’t bargain for all the flack
that’s apparently coming your way because of my decision. Right?”
Now it was my turn to look him in the face with my one good
eye.  “Yeh, Dad, that’s right.  Look, I’m a little bit of an
outsider at school, myself.  You know?  And I don’t need Will
Hadden and his merry band of apes stalking me in the hallways.
Okay?  I mean…”  I dropped my head, my righteous anger suddenly
dissipated, feeling as if I might start bawling again.  “Look, Pop,‘     Ä%”         0*†(†(∞ ∞    ‘
I don’t need to be a one©man leper colony.  I don’t think I can
handle it.”
Quicker than I thought my old man could move his 290 or 300
pounds, Archie was on his knees in front of me, drawing me towards
him with his big, beefy arms, and hugging me like I was about to
drop off the edge of the earth and he was hanging on to keep me
from going.  He seemed to be sniffling.  And, just as if I were six
or seven again, I put my head on his broad right shoulder and tears
streamed again from my good right eye.

Buy this novel at

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.

History of Higher Education (Part 2)

Posted in 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Biden, Big Business, binge drinking, blogging, cyberspace, Democrats, election, environment, fraternities, gun control, Higher Education, history, immigration, intelligent design, international, internet, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, literature, mccain, media, middle east, murder, murder in the 20th century, news, obama, Oil Companies, Palin, pennsylvania, Politics, president, Presidential Election, professors, religion, Republicans, Sarah Palin, science, shooting, study abroad, technology, Terrorism, Uncategorized, United Nations, universities, Vice President, Violence, VTU, war, war on terror, world affairs, writing on November 14, 2008 by castagnera

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.)

How Do You Like the 21st Century So Far?

Posted in 1966, 2008 Election, asia, Barack Obama, Biden, Big Business, blogging, Blogroll, breaking news, ceo compensation, Crime, criminal justice, cyberspace, Democrats, election, environment, gun control, Higher Education, history, immigration, international, internet, Israel, journalism, Law, Law and Justice, leadership, mccain, media, middle east, murder, murder in the 20th century, news, obama, Oil Companies, Palin, pennsylvania, Politics, president, Presidential Election, professors, Republicans, science, science fiction, second amendment, shooting, study abroad, technology, Terrorism, Uncategorized, United Nations, universities, Vice President, Violence, war, war on terror, world affairs, writing on November 7, 2008 by castagnera

On Tuesday, November 4th, we Americans made history.  As Journalist Bill Moyers pointed out on NPR, the albatross of racism has been lifted from around many American necks.  I include myself in this category.  I also feel as if the 2008 national election is the first bright spot in a dismal decade.
The new century was hardly underway when the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks bloodily and dramatically signaled the end of America’s brief illusion that, as the world’s sole superpower at the end of the Cold War, Uncle Sam could do anything he liked and get away with it.
A strong case can be made that we over-reacted to the Nine/Eleven attacks.  Launching a two-front war from which we have been unable to extricate ourselves is deemed by many Americans to have been a colossal blunder.  If you believe that fighting terrorism is essentially police work, and that our military forces are creating more radical Islamists than they are killing, then the Afghan and Iraqi wars were a bad idea.  If, on the other hand, you believe that America needs a stable Middle East to secure vital oil supplies, then the Bush Administration’s gross underestimate of the price in lives in treasure required to pacify the region makes the Afghan and Iraqi wars a bad idea.
More troubling to me is the financial crisis precipitated by Wall Street’s greed and Washington’s unwillingness to regulate the financial world’s shenanigans.  As Moyers said the other night on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” since the Bush people have no respect for federal regulation of business, they saw no reason to dampen the redistribution of wealth to the financial/power elite that occurred over the past eight years.  The Bush tax cuts contributed mightily to this largesse for the elite.  The War on Terror also contributed mightily.  For example, Halliburton, which made Dick Cheney a multi-multi-millionaire between Bush I and Bush II, has been rewarded with billions in defense contracts since the start of hostilities.  What the tax cuts and war didn’t put in the top five-percent’s pockets, they stole.
I don’t know what kind of a president Obama will make.  Two years ago I wrote him off as a flash in the pan.  A year ago I criticized his lack of national-service experience.  As Senator Joe Lieberman said at the Republican National Convention last summer, Obama is a talented man of great potential.  But, as Lieberman added, the ability to make an inspiring speech is no substitute for experience.
That being said, his themes of “hope” and “Yes, we can” are sorely needed now.  He seems to be surrounding himself with the wealth of experience he himself lacks, starting with Joe Biden.  By the time this column appears, he most likely will have picked a Treasury Secretary of comparable stature.  Jack Kennedy was younger, when elected, than Obama is now.  JFK was tested and made some early blunders at his first summit with the Soviet Union’s leader and at the Bay of Pigs.  But by October 1962 he was sufficiently seasoned to surmount the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Obama, too, is a quick study and a gutsy guy.
Even if he turns out to be a mediocre president, his election by a wide majority marks a departure from America’s centuries of racism.  It validates and renews Jefferson’s claim that America is the last, best hope of the world.  It supports our claim that our greatest strength is our diversity.
The challenges facing President Obama and the rest of us are daunting.  The current financial crisis will subside.  The challenge of a global marketplace occupied by an ascendant China, a resurgent Russia, and other energetic and powerful economic competitors is with us for good.  Islamic militants probably won’t quit until they succeed in detonating a nuclear device on US soil, or we succeed in killing them, while also making peace with the moderate majority of the Muslim world.  We who work in education must somehow manage to increase the demoralizing high school graduation rates of our largest cities, while providing our college students with all the skills they need to compete in a world where young Americans are no longer guaranteed to do better than their parents.
The half century that has comprised most of this writer’s life, from the late 1940s down to the turn of the new century, was a sort of Golden Age in the USA.  Getting by was a piece of cake.  Relative affluence was possible for the vast majority.  The Cold War with its doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction created a sort of “Pax Atomica” interrupted relatively rarely by low-level conflicts in Asia and elsewhere.  Ronald Reagan was the last US president to know what was wanted: “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.”
Since 1988, our brief ascendancy to sole superpower-ship has plunged into confusion, greed, and blind stupidity.  I don’t know if President Obama is the man to reverse this trajectory.  But unless you think that the first eight years of the new millennium were good times, you need to join those of us who hope.
[Jim Castagnera is the Associate Provost/Associate Council at Rider University.  His 17th book, “Al Qaeda Goes to College,” will be published by Greenwood/Praeger next spring.]