Occupied Territories

The introductory chapter of The Shadow University contains a powerful indictment of contemporary higher education. Kors and Silverglate get it right when they characterize university administrators as "careerists who have made a Faustian deal." They are correct as well about the professorial, political, and cultural pressures that have turned institutions of learning into conduits of multiculturalism and victimological concern. Since administrators need to stay in the graces of nonideological trustees, vocationally minded parents, and charitable alumni, they typically shove the nuttiest professors and the silliest courses into the liberal arts.

To deal with minority grievances, administrators appoint deans who invariably form working alliances with liberal arts protectors. This is the way universities infect themselves, according to Kors and Silverglate: by creating and "walling off a shadow university" that exists to accommodate aggrieved ideologues. By now, the authors argue, the "walled-off" secondary university, having swallowed up the original one,

engages in systematic intimidation. . . . The first imposition, in the classroom, is merely an abuse of a power that generally may be awarded by choice and in any event is not accomplished in secret. The second imposition of the shadow university is inescapable and is an exercise in something truly chilling; a hidden, systematic...

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