(March 9) 

One way to keep colleges from further enshrining their woke reigns of repression is to keep college accreditors from acting as enforcing arms for the repression.

The Defense of Freedom Institute, a think tank on educational and labor matters, released a helpful report this week called “ The State of Federal Accreditation Regulations and Guidance: Recent Reforms and New Opportunities. ” Its release is timely, considering a high-profile battle at the University of North Carolina in which its accrediting agency has tried to bully the school to keep it from opening a school dedicated to free expression.

Read that again: The agency tasked with accrediting a university is threatening to punish the university’s board for promoting free inquiry and civic leadership. The mind reels because, of course, UNC’s board is doing exactly what a university’s very reason for existence is. The accreditor’s threat is like a football referee warning that he will throw a flag if a team scores a touchdown.

That’s just one example of how the educational establishment all across the country is trying to repress expression and scholarship that doesn’t promote a left-wing narrative. As one longtime professor wrote to the Wall Street Journal, accreditors these days “ enforce currently fashionable groupthink and intimidate boards to guarantee that universities impose it on students and faculty.”

That’s where the new DFI report comes in. It proposes to protect accreditation reforms implemented by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and implement further reforms.

“The process for accreditation of a postsecondary institution is cumbersome, expensive, and ultimately ineffective from the perspective of the school, students, taxpayers, and employers,” notes the report. Without accreditation, however, colleges may not secure various federal grants and loans for their students, amounting nationwide to hundreds of billions of dollars.

DFI proposes a series of reforms, some of which, while important, seem more technical in nature. But one recommendation seems particularly relevant to today’s culture wars by, in essence, telling accrediting agencies to butt out of those culture wars entirely…. [The full column is here.]


Tags: , , ,