The New York Times recently published this interesting story, of which all university stakeholders should take notice. On campuses across the country, many alumni feel that they no longer recognize the universities they love and support as a result of the shift in campus culture away from open inquiry and free speech. As a result, many of these alumni are working to affect the changing campus culture by using the best means at their disposal: their checkbooks.
Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by today’s college culture. Among their laments: Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics. They are allowed to take too many frivolous courses. They have repudiated the heroes and traditions of the past by judging them by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times. Fraternities are being unfairly maligned, and men are being demonized by sexual assault investigations. And university administrations have been too meek in addressing protesters whose messages have seemed to fly in the face of free speech.
Robert Longsworth, class of ’99, the seventh in his family to have attended Amherst, has been the president of the New York City alumni association and a class agent. But he has withdrawn, he said, because of his sense that the college has become “so wrapped up in this politically charged mission rather than staying in its lane and being an institution of higher education.
Mr. Longsworth, 39, who works in the financial industry, said he thought erasing history only made people more vulnerable to racism. “When the administration and faculty and ultimately a lot of the student body spends a great deal of time on witch hunts, I think that a lot of that intellectual rigor is forgone,” he said.
Mr. Longsworth said he had heard from “friends who went to Hamilton, Trinity, Williams, Bates, Middlebury, Hobart, who are not pleased at what’s happened on campus, and they’ve kind of stepped away.” For these alumni, he said, refusing to write a check “seems to be the only lever that can make a difference.
The entire article is worth reading and should be source of concern for faculty, administrators, alumni associations, students, and indeed everyone who is concerned with the life and future of the university.