Can Our Universities be Saved?

We have to choice but to restore our universities as bastions of education, not indoctrination.

Harvard University Campus in Cambridge, Mass.

By Michael Brown Published on May 30, 2017

Where is the one place in America where free speech is commonly suppressed, where there is often as much indoctrination as education, and where radical-left ideologies reign almost unchallenged? It is our college and university campuses. Many of them have become so biased and extreme that even CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, hardly a conservative, excoriated their intolerance. Can our universities be saved?

We’re not just talking about the occasional educational faux pas, such as when heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson received an honorary doctorate from Central State University in Ohio. Speaking at the graduation ceremony in cap and gown, Tyson remarked, “I wasn’t sure what kind of doctor I was, but looking at all the lovely sisters here, I think I’ll be a doctor of gynecology.”

No, we’re talking about a systematic dumbing down and radicalizing of our campuses.

2017’s Embarrassing Commencement Season

Typical of the dumbing down of our schools was a comment from comedian Kumail Nanjiani. He delivered the commencement speech at his alma mater, Grinnell College in Iowa. Nanjiani said, “So here’s another concrete piece of advice I can give you — have sex with an immigrant. We’re going through a tough time right now and it would just be really great for morale.”

What sage advice from a commencement speaker.

“Top colleges invited 45 liberal commencement speakers this year … and a measly four conservatives.”

Typical of the radicalizing of our schools were these comments from Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. She’s an assistant professor in African American studies at Princeton. At the graduation service for Hampshire College in Massachusetts, Taylor called President Trump “a racist, sexist megalomaniac.”

Regarding his policies, she said, “It is not enough just to be outraged. Injustice has to actually be defied.”

Taylor slurred Attorney General Jeff Sessions, too. He “embraces and promulgates policies that have already proven to have had a devastating impact on black families and communities.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if most of the graduates didn’t consider her comments controversial. She was probably preaching to the choir.

This is the pattern at campuses across our country. As Katrina Trinko pointed out at the Daily Signal, “According to a new survey from Young America’s Foundation, top colleges invited 45 liberal commencement speakers this year … and a measly four conservatives.”

That’s more than a 10 to 1 ratio. Shocking but not surprising.

Among those four conservatives was Vice President Mike Pence. He spoke at Notre Dame University. Shamefully, about 100 graduates stood up and walked out. What a scandal. And what a snapshot of the prevailing mentality at many of our elite schools.

A Long Way From Where We Started

Contrast this with the founding of some of our greatest universities, something detailed in my forthcoming book Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. Take Harvard. Harvard University was founded in 1636 as Harvard College. Its purpose was “To train a literate clergy.” Among the “Rules and Precepts” to be observed by the students was this: “Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.” That’s how Harvard started.

Princeton University was founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey. The school’s motto was “Under God’s Power She Flourishes.”

If we ignore the crisis, we effectively surrender the souls of the next generation.

Columbia University was founded as King’s College in 1754 by a royal charter of King George II. It had as its goals to “enlarge the Mind, improve the Understanding, polish the whole Man, and qualify them to support the brightest Characters in all the elevated stations in life.”

As for commencement addresses, Cacey N. Nep at Politico wrote, “At Harvard’s first commencement in 1642, every single member of the graduating class gave an address in Greek, Hebrew or Latin. The commencement address was not singular, but plural, and those doing the addressing were not distinguished guests, but lowly graduates.” (There were 9 grads in total.)

Chew on that for a moment. Every graduate at Harvard in 1642 “gave an address in Greek, Hebrew or Latin.” And you can be sure that the faculty, if not every grad, understood every word of every speaker. Contrast that with Najiania’s joking call to have sex with an immigrant to boost morale. (You’d be even more shocked if you read about the moral requirements in the early days of Harvard.)

Restoring Education

To repeat, then, my initial question: Can our universities be saved?

I’m not talking about restoring them to their deeply Christian roots. I’m talking about restoring them as bastions of education, not leftist indoctrination. Is it too late?

One of the chapters in Saving a Sick America is titled “Reclaiming Our Schools and Learning How to Think Again.” In it, I caution parents against sending their kids off to secular universities without clear purpose and preparation.

I also call for:

  1. Christian universities to refuse to bow down to the god of secular academics, including the pressure that comes from accrediting boards
  2. Christian conservatives to do their best to get teaching and administrative positions at secular universities where they can challenge the status quo
  3. More and more conservative Christian schools to be raised up to help train and equip the next generation.

The challenge is certainly great, but we really have no other choice. If we ignore the crisis, things will only get worse. If we throw in the towel in despair, then we effectively surrender the souls of the next generation, which is our greatest treasure.

Over 40 years ago, Larry Norman, a pioneer Christian rock musician asked the question, “Why should the devil have all the good music?”

Today, I’m asking the question, “Why should the left have (almost) all the good schools?”

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  • Dant e

    In the UK Ofsted rule the roost, all places of education have to fulfil certain criteria which often involves unrealistic financial outlay, even if a community of Christians came together to share the load. Home schooling alone is financially unviable for most because the system(or those in power) have made it that way purposely to destroy the role of the housewife and the crucial role they play in the child`s upbringing, whilst helping in the powers that be cause in educating the children themselves with their worldly ways.

  • John A.

    No, our universities can’t be saved. It’s too late. Through apathy and neglect we have allowed universities (even most Christian schools) to be conquered by the radical left. They are instituting a new Reign of Terror against which there can be no dissent. I’m afraid we are heading toward more violence as the culture war spills over even more into the physical arena. Reason is dead and has no chance against the radical left… they are too indoctrinated and too corrupt.

  • Kevin Quillen

    ‘The challenge is certainly great, but we really have no other choice.’
    It is too late. Let America crumble and fall. I will live as a Christian and be ab ambassador for Christ to all I meet. I will obey God always, and man as far as it agrees with God. America is too far gone to save. Generation after generation have been brainwashed in public schools. Abe Lincoln said, ” the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next”. Never were truer words spoken.

  • Stephen D

    Why should the devil….
    I always understood this quote came from the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth (1800s). However it might go back to the era of the Wesley brothers and Whitefield (1700s). See Wikipedia, the trusted source.
    Actually I think it is incorrect. Christianity has always had the best tunes. The devil’s tunes are often good ones. But Christian tunes are better. They have a spirituality that is all their own. The ancient chorale melodies immortalised by J. S. Bach, for example, which are still sung in many Lutheran churches today, are far superior to any secular tune one can think of.
    The art of writing spiritual tunes for Christian songs is worth acknowledging and celebrating.

  • Andy6M

    Our schools and our culture can most certainly be saved, but it is a long haul effort. It comes down to each of us having a salt and light impact on the people around us. The church in North America (I’m Canadian and include us in this) is great at standing for the truth, but we have become poor at personal holiness and personal evangelism. We must remember that changing the culture is not a top down venture but a grass roots movement. Government, universities, etc. will change if the majority coming their way are headed a “different direction”. To say otherwise is to say that God is not sovereign and can’t affect change in us as a people.

  • Billy Chickens

    No.

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