The alleged suicide of American Colleges



So many stupid things are written about higher education that it’s refreshing when one man’s idiocy on the topic rises to new heights. I bring you Rick Karlgaard in Forbes: “In May 2014 several American universities and colleges appeared on the verge of French-like suicide. Student hissy fits at Brandeis, Haverford, Rutgers and Smith caused either an invitation for an honorary-degree candidate to be withdrawn or the invited commencement speaker at those schools to bow out.” If you might think that a student protest does not amount to the suicide of these colleges, don’t worry, because Karlgaard doesn’t think it either.

He goes on to declare that the decline and fall of colleges really has nothing to do with protests, but that all liberal arts colleges in America are quickly doomed: “Make no mistake: The expensive liberal arts colleges in America are going down–fast and hard. Schools like Haverford and Smith are extremely vulnerable. The return on a four-year $250,000 investment in such colleges will be poor in future years. Their brands have become laughingstocks.” Actually, the return on these college investments is a lot better than, say, the return on buying a subscription to Forbes and following its ludicrous advice. It takes a lot of gumption for a guy who works for Steve Forbes to refer to anyone else’s brand as a laughingstock.

So what does this awe-inspiring seer of the future of higher education think is the best kind of college education? Karlgaard writes, “Ashford University has a Forbes M.B.A. program, so I vouch for that! Northcentral University, where I’m giving a commencement speech, is an impressive up-and-comer.” Well, of course. Nothing indicates fine business judgment better than a recommendation for colleges based upon their willingness to suck up to you and your employer.