The fourth time a Poughkeepsie police officer told me that my Vassar College Faculty ID could make everything OK was three years ago. I was driving down Wilbur Avenue. When the white police officer, whose head was way too small for his neck, asked if my truck was stolen, I laughed, said no, and shamefully showed him my license and my ID, just like Lanre Akinsiku. The ID, which ensures that I can spend the rest of my life in a lush state park with fat fearless squirrels, surrounded by enlightened white folks who love talking about Jon Stewart, Obama, and civility, has been washed so many times it doesn’t lie flat.
A first-time adjunct professor teaching a full course load at the City University of New York can expect to pull in around $25,000 per year. If you recently resigned as C.I.A. director over a long-time affair with your biographer, however, you can expect to be paid eight times as much for a fraction of the work.
Steven Landsburg is an economics professor at the University of Rochester. Formerly a Slate columnist, Landsburg is well-versed in the art of the high-minded counterintuitive take, like "Don't Vote: It makes more sense to play the lottery" and "Do the Poor Deserve Life Support?" With this as his background, Landsburg's students have come to expect a bit of intellectual boldness from the instructor, whom they once elected Professor of the Year, as Landsburg's own website is quick to note. But last week, one of Landsburg's thought experiments crossed the border that separates irreverent from rapey, and at least two students were offended in the process.
It's nice work if you can quit it. An article from yesterday's New York Times goes into the shameful and mysterious phenomenon that is New York University's bloated financial gifts to people who willingly resign from the school. There was, for instance, Jacob Lew, a former NYU executive vice president (and the new Treasury Secretary), who got almost $700,000 after leaving NYU and joining Citigroup in 2006. After Lew came Harold Koplewicz, the psychiatrist who quit the NYU Medical Center on his own accord and yet was still paid a $1.2 million lump sum in the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Tuition-free arts school Cooper Union, whose new academic building peeks out of Cooper Square like a beautiful, serene spaceship, will most likely start charging students tuition to make up for a shortfall of about $12 million each year. The school began charging tuition for graduate students last year, a decision that was met with student protests, including a group of students who barricaded themselves inside of the iconic original Cooper Union building.
Writing in the winter issue of Emory Magazine, President James Wagner rhapsodizes about the need for compromise in a politically turbulent society. He points out that the constitution was in itself a compromise. Another example he cites, is the Three-Fifths Compromise, which legally represented slaves as less than a person. He writes:
Mistakes. We all make them, it's understandable, forgivable, a part of human nature even. But when there's a particular irony to said mistake, it makes it nearly impossible not to mock that mistake, and there's nothing more ironic than an institution of higher learning misspelling its own damn name.
Controversial University of Texas at Austin law professor Lino Graglia gave an interview to the BBC in which he claims, among other things, that blacks and Latinos can't compete with white students, particularly because of the fact that so many of them are raised in single-parent households. Graglia's interview was related to the fact, as we've told you, UT is currently in a battle with a white student it rejected who claims that the school's affirmative action program is to blame for her having to go to a second-rate college.
The Times today explores the trend of high schools naming more than one person—as many as ten!—their Valedictorian. Some people are worried that this might dilute the honor of being named high school valedictorian, which is akin to worrying that water might dilute the bottle of urine someone is forcing you to drink.