HANSON: The monotony of thought in the modern university

Only hard sciences have survived the spoils system

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We cannot expect the current self-interested establishment in charge of the university to reform it. Its failure to educate students for well-paying jobs while charging them excessive fees may alone force a reckoning.

The Internet, tech schools and correspondence courses are already eroding the monopolies of the campus. Whether the academic establishment likes it or not, a new generation of leadership will have to ensure equal pay for equal work, an end to lifetime sinecures, a new way of assessing university achievement, transparency in budgeting and admissions, political balance and tolerance, and a complete overhaul of the liberal arts curriculum.

Either higher education will give up its medieval privileges, begin to be accountable and live in the modern world, or it will be reduced to a costly relic for a tiny elite.

An aging campus generation that has nearly wrecked the university should bow out and let more open-minded and innovative minds repair the damage that the old generation has wrought.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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