Standing up for free speech on campus and against the speech police

There’s at least one upside to this era of political turmoil and partisan churn: It is certainly offering a lot of opportunities to discuss free speech. It’s unfortunate that even football is a source for division instead of unity now. But after the initial shock of the tit-for-tat between the president and NFL players – […]

Behind the Evergreen story: “equity justification” for new hires

I’ve touched already on some of the “silliness” taking place at Olympia’s The Evergreen State College. I use that term because of the lack of intellectual seriousness undergirding much of the turmoil on campus. But the results of that silliness are nothing to laugh at. While yelling, phoned threats, and roving students armed with bats […]

Evergreen mob shows even minor dissent will get you ostracized

It’s tempting to dismiss some of the more outlandish movements that take hold on college campuses. Most, after all, have no staying power and soon peter out. They deserve our attention all the same. Ideas can outlast the moment, take root, and gain acceptance over time. The American norms we take for granted, including support […]

With free speech eroding, UW stood strong through Yiannopoulos controversy

We’ve seen it on campus after campus across the country, as controversial speakers (and even plenty that aren’t that controversial) are disinvited, shouted down, or threatened to stay away. We’ve seen it in aggressive protestors who see no irony in declaring a speech they disagree with “assault,” then turn around and call it “free speech” […]

GOP “annoyed” at Inslee’s tuition claims? GOP right about Inslee’s tuition claims

Before we get down to the heart of the matter, I’d like to take up this headline a moment: “GOP annoyed Gov. Inslee is taking credit for college-tuition cuts.” You’d really have to work at it (and headline writing is an art) to more clearly convey the idea, “Mere partisan squabble, don’t bother reading.” It […]

One college is telling new students: don’t expect any “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces”

At a time when free speech has been under attack on our college campuses in so many ways, one university is telling incoming freshmen that it won’t be following down the same path. That the school is where I earned my law degree, the University of Chicago, just makes the story that much better. This […]

New WSU pres calls for spending sanity

You hear terms like “fiscal sanity” and “responsible budgeting” bandied about in government. Unfortunately you’re a lot more likely to hear it from critics and candidates than agency heads and bureaucrats. The focus from those spending the money tends to be on growing their budget, getting a bigger share of the revenue pie, and expanding […]

Free community college is a “want,” not a “need”

I am a consistent supporter and cheerleader of our state’s higher education system. Our universities, technical schools, and community colleges are vital to Washington’s economic vitality. I’m so glad that after decades of declining investment, we’ve finally reversed that trend (thanks, Senate Republicans). Still, proposals for further supporting higher ed must be put in context […]

2015 session: Took too long, pretty good results, one huge issue remains

At the end of the day – 176 days, actually – Washington’s legislature ended up having a pretty solid and productive session this year. May we never see its like again. From a policy perspective, we’d be fortunate to have many more years like this one. From a governance perspective? Not so much. The issues […]

It’s obvious who actually cares about higher ed in Olympia

Key legislators are insisting that a budget deal will be sealed before large portions of state government must shut down. Some legislative leaders and members, however, seem determined to walk right up to the edge of the cliff and take a peek at the abyss. As part of the negotiations, the Republican Senate and Democratic […]