13–2 — Can colleges be saved?

Serializing Insight Colleges, how Women In Congress re-invented liberal arts college curriculum and teaching methods to produce graduates who could redeem and restore SpaceShip Earth.

As Greta Hoffa’s complaint against colleges went viral in the news media, journalists looking deeply into liberal arts colleges found two major insights:

- Liberal arts institutions were socially and culturally INeffective, especially in the face of social media, and

- Colleges weren’t only financially conservative; they had become socially-culturally conservative, no longer progressive in virtually all ways.

This was nowhere more apparent than in the loss of freedom of speech on campuses, primarily for faculty, secondarily for students

Problems at colleges progressed like the proverbial frog boiled in water, heating so slowly, the frog does not notice he is dying.

Poll: Majority believe it’s unsafe to hold unpopular ideas in college

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In 2010, the American Association of Colleges and Universities polled 24,000 students and 9,00 campus professionals (faculty, admin), a very thoro study. The questions asked was, “Is it safe to hold unpopular ideas on college campuses?”

They didn’t even ask, “is it safe to talk about unpopular ideas?” or, “is it safe to talk about unpopular ideas in classrooms?” When a polling service asks a milquetoast question like this, they are fishing for an expected answer. You hope respondents will all reply the way you expect, so you can celebrate everyone thinks like you, or your think tank does.

60% of college freshman disagreed; they felt it was UNsafe to hold unpopular views. More, the graph shows as respondents goes to seniors, even fewer believe it is safe to hold unpopular views.

dg-greg L poll

Most tellingly, faculty felt the least safe holding unpopular ideas. Only 19% felt safe, 81% did not feel safe.

There’s also a lot of research literature on this question, “Why students don’t talk in college classrooms any more.” Want to know the answer? Students, seeing so much conflict around, simply talk to the few other students who think and talk the same as they do. This is why when you poll with the question, “Is censorship or cancelling a problem on college campuses?’ students say “no.” They simply talk to the same few people day after day. They know this will avoid any chance of conflict or embarrassment.

“Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate” — https://www.thefire.org/resources/fire-staff-speakers/greg-lukianoff/

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2020: More Students See a Climate of Self-Censorship

College students are increasingly reluctant to share their views on topics like politics, religion, and sexuality, according to a new report issued by Heterodox Academy, a nonpartisan collaborative of nearly 5,000 professors, administrators, K-12 educators and graduate students that promotes open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement in institutions of higher learning. The group’s 2020 Campus Expression Survey, one of a series funded by the John Templeton Foundation, showed that 62 percent of sampled college students agreed that the climate on their campus makes students reticent to say what they believe — a 7 percent increase over the previous year’s results.

In 2020, Heterodox Academy surveyed 1,311 students at hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S. The sample was stratified by region, race, and gender based on broader national student demographics in order to provide the most accurate national snapshot of student sentiment. In the formal report outlining the survey results, researcher Melissa Stiksma writes that students were most reluctant to talk about politics (42%) and religion (31%), but an increasing number (15%) said they were reluctant to speak out in class about even non-controversial topics. On average, students who identified as Republicans (and to a lesser degree those who said they were Independent) reported being more reluctant to discuss most topics in class than their peers who identified as Democrats. The most common student response was that other students would criticize their views as offensive (60%),

https://www.templeton.org/grant/promoting-open-inquiry-viewpoint-diversity-and-constructive-disagreement-on-american-college-campuses-and-in-the-disciplines?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=organic%20social&utm_campaign=grant

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Wokeism

High schools and colleges had lost the cultural battle against self-serving fake news. They had lost the battle against superficial, political posturing, both under the guise of “identify politics” and “wokeism.” Schools had lost the battle against bullying. Fake news, wokeism and cancel culture were all too often thinly disguised variations on bullying — dressed up in intellectual garb.

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“Wokeism” is defined as “weaponized personal grievances masquerading as genuine social concern. Wokeism was defined in part by its partially or wholly fraudulent nature. This makes it distinct from an authentic, spontaneous, heartfelt response to a social grievances. Wokeism only knows outrage and punishing — it knows no empathy for actual victims” — 2021 post on Medium.com

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These plagues of modern Corporate Consumer Culture — erode and chip away at tweens, teens and college students trying to invest their life with workable morals, ethics and values. Most students have weal emotional support systems; almost none know any psychology professionals they like and trust.

By 2028 due to political correctness, cancel culture and woke culture (wokeism), healthy moral, ethics and values, which one underpinned liberal arts colleges, rotted away from disuse.

Thinking for yourself as a student or as a professor was a fool’s errand, no longer safe, no longer encouraged.

Prior to the opening of the New Colleges Project pilot schools, in the mid-2030s, most colleges adhered to a Wall-Street-Corporate mind-set. Colleges were happy to be subservient to corporations, the place where corporations outsourced their on-the-job training, so corporations could avoid these costs.

On this, Women used their voices, “If colleges do no more than prepare grads to work in toxic corporations — these are no longer colleges. Colleges have become the “minor leagues” of Corporations. Corporations skim the cream of the crop; let the rest sink or swim.”

Since the 1950s, small numbers of Cultural Creatives, the Beat Generation; including early jazz lovers; and, the first stand-up comedians, were hip to most colleges as status-quo-machines. Cultural Creatives agitated for more institutions to invest in exploring positive futures and higher quality of living for the 99%.

After 2021 change was over-due. Liberal arts colleges operating under the Old Male Patriarchy were unhealthy places to work. Working conditions for administrators at colleges were unhealthy. Working at colleges had become another “golden handcuffs” situation like corporate law: Its very unpleasant work; only the money makes it bearable. Take the money and run. In this way, the 215 small liberal arts colleges in 2029 were “circling the drain.”

Did we mention in the period 2001–2032 the rise in infant-mortality; the decline in marriages; the rise in suicides? Women In Congress saw what was happening to their own children. They hated what was happening. Their children’s declining physical-emotional wellness was hurtful to mothers. They hated growing deadness in children of all ages, their own and other’s.

Men continued to be oblivious to the signs; claiming, “Everything is fine.” Too many colleges enabled and institutionalized corrupt male ethics, morals and values, maile failure. Colleges were failing their mandate to prepare and produce capable new leaders for each new generation. Instead of creating new, capable leaders for Spaceship Earth, colleges were creating new Frankensteins, whose monsters were escaping the lab and proliferating globally in the wild.

Colleges are never paradigm busters

Dr. Courtney Brown, Director of and Founder of the Farsight Inst. was invited to speak at Monday Lunch with Experts. He was asked to speak on, “Can colleges be sources of social-cultural renewal — or not?”

His response? Colleges and universities are not paradigm busters. Universities are not in the business of knocking down old intellectual walls no longer useful. Universities are money aggregators. They pursue and accept professors who will build the college’s public prestige. Prestige is how they position themselves to receive grant money from foundations and graduates.

When a new, controversial field or topic emerges, universities don’t want to touch it. It could damage their public reputation, prestige and credibility. Instead they wait until the topic becomes more mainstream. After a topic becomes more mainstream, universities like to say, “We were with you from the beginning.”

So colleges are all about prestige and funneling in funds from foundations and graduates. This means their main mission, exposing young minds to new ideas, to make more breakthrus, gets pushed down to a much lower priority.

Only individuals can be paradigm busters. Institutions cannot do this.

Colleges not keeping up — with anything

Since WWII, as each generation was, in various ways, more educated than prior generations, colleges did not keep up with the evolving needs of an educated public. Each generation was — in part — progressing up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Colleges? They weren’t progressing at all. In the areas of:

- College curriculum,

- Faculty-Faculty relations; and

- faculty-admin relations

…colleges were not evolving at all, not even in Emotional Intelligence, a topic they embraced because it garnered donations and grants, yet to which only lip service was given. This is why colleges were increasingly regressing into toxic identity politics, wokeism and cancel culture.

Each new college failure eroded public support for colleges generally. What did liberal arts colleges do in their own defense? Nothing. “New boss same as the old boss.”

In hindsight, the 2029 College Crisis was predictable. Colleges were manifesting the cautionary tale of Matt Goering’s FOX animated carton show, Futurama.

The joke of Futurama

dg-futurama

Futurama (1999–2009) was an animated Fox TV show, created by Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons. Futurama was known for the same upbeat mania which characterized the Simpsons.

The premise Futurama is this. In the future, the good news is diverse humans and aliens all live together side by side. The main character, Philip J. Fry, has a one-eyed alien girlfriend.

The bad news is the future is a bleak, unlivable, corporate-run dystopia. Fry, is a dim-witted young male human who may or may not have attended some college. He accepts, believes and talks as if he lives in a wonderful utopia. All the other characters think he is somewhat mad for turning a blind eye to all the inequities and horrors he so blithely takes for granted as “normal.”

Futurama harks back to Voltaire’s Candide (1759). Philip J. Fry has many similarities to Dr. Pangloss. Both are open symbols of the folly both of blind optimism and of fantasies born of excessive abstract thinking. Both Fry and Pangloss believe their current world is, “the best of all possible worlds.” Fry has grown up under the tutelage of corporate-friendly K-12 education, indoctrinated to believe the corporate landscape is “the best of all possible worlds.” His brain is “fried” on corporate propaganda. He’s been trained since kindergarten NOT to think for himself.

Fry has grown up and knows only a commercial landscape, created and controlled by corporations. His companions tolerate yet do not criticize his deluded, brainwashed state. The audience perceives how deluded and dumbed-down Fry has become.

Futurama was later used in Experiential Insight Colleges as a media literacy topic, a cautionary tale of what can happen in the absence of critical and independent thinking of citizens.

Corporatizing ruins liberal arts education

Starting in the 1980s, Ivy League colleges began amassing huge fortunes in endowments and bequests from graduates grown rich from Wall Street and Silicon Valley jobs. By 2000, some of these endowment-bequest amounts totaled in the low billions of dollars. By 2007, colleges with large endowments to manage, began operating like hedge funds, investing their windfalls wherever it felt safe and high return on investment was anticipated.

Q: Did colleges invest their large endowments in education-centered activity?

A: No. College fund managers were forced to invest endowments where return of investment was safe and better than 2%. In this, college funds were managed identically to how all other hedge funds were managed. Education had nothing to do with their decisions.

As the profit center of top colleges shifted from student tuition to investing their endowments for profit, the focus of college presidents and administration on educating students as the next generation of leaders and innovators evaporated.

The focus slowly became thinking about their business — colleges — as primarily financial enterprises. From a financial perspective, the business of colleges was to push students into debt and keep them paying off their loans with interest. This business was a good financial investment.

This is how top colleges came to think. They shifted from hiring leading educators; to, hiring leading financial managers. The goal of producing educated citizen-voters, who could innovate new inventions and new social forms — was completely forgotten.

Mehdi Hasan: time to re-think liberal arts colleges

In early 2030, one especially motivating Monday Lunch With Experts presentation, was a talk by one of few surviving, functional males, a male aligned with the progressive values of Women In Congress. This was journalist Mehdi Hasan of MSNBC, formerly of TheIntercept.

Mehdi pointed out how colleges had corrupted in almost exactly the same way as entertainment and mass-media. All had corrupted due to huge un-earned windfall profits: tuitions, government grants, donations and corporate investment. “Any org where too much excess money is sloshing around, easily corrupts into a mafia, a ‘privilege protection racket’” See also journalist Aaron Mate, 2020, on this topic.

Such financial mafias prefer to hire only yes-men, serfs and sycophants. Everyone is schooled towards ambition to maintain access to power within the organization and access to power in higher government circles.

Prior to 2030, Women In Congress had passed multiple bills legislating new taxes on advertising to reign in toxic and excessive mass news and entertainment media. They already knew how to play this game.

Mehdi motivated Women to raise their sights on what colleges could be, how they might be re-purposed to making mainstream society more wealthy thru graduates schooled in Best Practices; who then, carry these out into the rest of the world.

He said: “Where else could graduates be exposed to and practice, tried and tested, Best Practices in multiple disciplines? Where else could young adults practice Best Practices? How else except thru literally New Colleges, could Best Practices in multiple disciplines reach all corners of Earth?”

In this way, Medhi stimulated Women In Congress to start think outside their own boxes; and, to think bigger.

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