For Many Students, College Is Not a Good Investment

To the Editor:

Philip Trostel argued recently that universities are extraordinarily good investments, both for students and for society (“Beyond the College Earnings Premium. Way Beyond,The Chronicle, January 29.) He asserts that over a lifetime college graduates average $1,383,000 more in earnings than high-school diploma holders.

There are several problems with this observation. First, comparing high-school graduates to college graduates is like comparing apples to oranges. The typical colle…

Not All Court Rulings Consistent With ‘Dear Colleague Letter’

To the Editor:

You are correct that the Obama administration’s April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter changed how colleges deal with allegations of sexual harassment and assault (“How a 20-Page Letter Changed the Way Higher Education Handles Sexual Assault,” February 8). That letter from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights told colleges they “have an obligation” to investigate even when an incident “occurred off school grounds.” By contrast, under the Bush administration, the Offi…

Social Scientists Have Researched the Far Right for Decades

To the Editor:

While I appreciate your attention to this issue and the informative article about the center Dr. Mudde is forming (“Scholars Push to Broaden Research on America’s Far Right,The Chronicle, February 10), I also want to point out that the discipline of sociology has researched the far right, religious right, and right wing extremism in American society for decades. Certainly since the farm crisis of the 1990s, sociology and political science and history researchers have published n…

Removal of Animal-Welfare Records Is Serious Blow to Accountability

To the Editor:

The Department of Agriculture’s stunning assault on transparency by removing thousands of animal-welfare-related records from its website (“Agriculture Dept. Removes Animal-Welfare Data From Website,The Chronicle, February 6) leaves all of us in the dark about how animals across the country are being treated. As Harvard Law professor and former head of the federal government’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein has noted, “the Animal Welfare Act is de…

Student Activists at Penn Not Tearing Down Free-Speech Values

To the Editor:

I am responding to Jonathan Zimmerman’s recent commentary on free speech and racism (“Racism Was Served by Silence. Justice Requires Free Speech for All,The Chronicle, December 13). I am one of the many students who organized an open letter to our dean, cited by Zimmerman, about the role of colleges and universities in responding to racism and other forms of oppression — within national politics, relationships between colleges and local communities, and college classrooms them…

Article on Attracting Women to STEM Was Lacking

To the Editor:

Faculty at private and public colleges alike have introduced innovative curricula that can successfully attract more women to computer science and technology fields, an important fact overlooked in “A Lab of Her Own” (The Chronicle, January 22).  In addition, your reporter’s mischaracterization of our conversation — relegating Harvey Mudd College’s response to this critical issue as being a matter of updating a few photos — deeply insults the many hours of hard work our f…

Faculty Must Run for Elected Office

To the Editor:

Faculty need to fervently pursue elected positions within federal, state, and local governments. Scholars’ current societal role is often overlooked but vital to a free and democratic society. Academics educate students in ways that encourage curiosity and inspire creativity, conduct life-saving research, and philosophize critically about solutions to complex world issues. However, the implications of independent faculty scholarship may be overshadowed by well-funded research in…

What About Role of Small Private Colleges in Social Mobility?

To the Editor:

Please do not imply that there are only two types of higher education institutions — public ones and elite private colleges (“How Public Colleges Enhance Social Mobility (and Elite Colleges Often Don’t),The Chronicle, January 20).  A sector that is too often overlooked is the small private college that is not necessarily in the “elite” category.  Statics show that the point of entry to higher education for high-need, possibly disadvantaged students is two types of institutions …

Talladega Band’s Decision to Play at Inauguration Is Smart and Gutsy

To the Editor:

The Talladega College Marching Tornado Band plans to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade on Friday in spite of protests by some alumni and members of the public (“Talladega College Says Band Will March in Trump’s Inaugural Parade,The Chronicle, January 5). It is the only historically black college or university scheduled to participate.

Shirley Ferrill, a 1974 Talladega alum, has launched a a petition on Change.org demanding the college withdraw. As of tod…

Stop Dismissing Community Colleges

To the Editor:

In his January 9 letter to the editor, J. Patrick McGrail wrote, “Community colleges have traditionally been best at providing practical skills, such as X-Ray technician training. But now, community colleges are being called upon to be preparatory academies for four-year institutions” (“Not All Community-College Credits Should Easily Transfer,Letters to the Editor, January 9).

That is false. Dr. McGrail seems to have confused community colleges with career and technical colleges…