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[WSJ] A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’

Maiden Voyage

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The number of men enrolled at two- and four-year colleges has fallen behind women by record levels, in a widening education gap across the U.S.​



Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels.

At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.

This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years. The divergence increases at graduation: After six years of college, 65% of women in the U.S. who started a four-year university in 2012 received diplomas by 2018 compared with 59% of men during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.

No reversal is in sight. Women increased their lead over men in college applications for the 2021-22 school year—3,805,978 to 2,815,810—by nearly a percentage point compared with the previous academic year, according to Common Application, a nonprofit that transmits applications to more than 900 schools. Women make up 49% of the college-age population in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau.

“Men are falling behind remarkably fast,” said Thomas Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, which aims to improve educational opportunities for low-income, first-generation and disabled college students.

American colleges, which are embroiled in debates over racial and gender equality, and working on ways to reduce sexual assault and harassment of women on campus, have yet to reach a consensus on what might slow the retreat of men from higher education. Some schools are quietly trying programs to enroll more men, but there is scant campus support for spending resources to boost male attendance and retention.

At Baylor University, where the undergraduate student body is 60% female, the admission rate for men last year was 7 percentage points higher than for women. Every student has to meet Baylor’s admission standards to earn admission, said Jessica King Gereghty, the school’s assistant vice president of enrollment strategy and innovation. Classes, however, are shaped to balance several variables, including gender, she said.

Ms. Gereghty said she found that girls more closely attended to their college applications than boys, for instance making sure transcripts are delivered. Baylor created a “males and moms communication campaign” a few years ago to keep high-school boys on track, she said.

A mong the messages to mothers in the campaign, Ms. Gereghty said: “ ‘At the dinner table tonight, mom, we need you to talk about getting your high school transcripts in.’ ”

Race and gender can’t be considered in admission decisions at California’s public universities. The proportion of male undergraduates at UCLA fell to 41% in the fall semester of 2020 from 45% in fall 2013. Over the same period, undergraduate enrollment expanded by nearly 3,000 students. Of those spots, nine out of 10 went to women.

“We do not see male applicants being less competitive than female applicants,” UCLA Vice Provost Youlonda Copeland-Morgan said, but fewer men apply.

The college gender gap cuts across race, geography and economic background. For the most part, white men—once the predominant group on American campuses—no longer hold a statistical edge in enrollment rates, said Mr. Mortenson, of the Pell Institute. Enrollment rates for poor and working-class white men are lower than those of young Black, Latino and Asian men from the same economic backgrounds, according to an analysis of census data by the Pell Institute for the Journal.

The gender enrollment disparity among nonprofit colleges is widest at private four-year schools, where the proportion of women during the 2020-21 school year grew to an average of 61%, a record high, Clearinghouse data show. Some of the schools extend offers to a higher percentage of male applicants, trying to get a closer balance of men and women.

“Is there a thumb on the scale for boys? Absolutely,” said Jennifer Delahunty, a college enrollment consultant who previously led the admissions offices at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. “The question is, is that right or wrong?”

Ms. Delahunty said this kind of tacit affirmative action for boys has become “higher education’s dirty little secret,” practiced but not publicly acknowledged by many private universities where the gender balance has gone off-kilter.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re not giving this issue air and sun so that we can start to address it,” she said.

A mong the messages to mothers in the campaign, Ms. Gereghty said: “ ‘At the dinner table tonight, mom, we need you to talk about getting your high school transcripts in.’ ”

Race and gender can’t be considered in admission decisions at California’s public universities. The proportion of male undergraduates at UCLA fell to 41% in the fall semester of 2020 from 45% in fall 2013. Over the same period, undergraduate enrollment expanded by nearly 3,000 students. Of those spots, nine out of 10 went to women.

“We do not see male applicants being less competitive than female applicants,” UCLA Vice Provost Youlonda Copeland-Morgan said, but fewer men apply.

The college gender gap cuts across race, geography and economic background. For the most part, white men—once the predominant group on American campuses—no longer hold a statistical edge in enrollment rates, said Mr. Mortenson, of the Pell Institute. Enrollment rates for poor and working-class white men are lower than those of young Black, Latino and Asian men from the same economic backgrounds, according to an analysis of census data by the Pell Institute for the Journal.

No college wants to tackle the issue under the glare of gender politics, said Ms. Delahunty, the enrollment consultant. The conventional view on campuses, she said, is that “men make more money, men hold higher positions, why should we give them a little shove from high school to college?”


Yet the stakes are too high to ignore, she said. “If you care about our society, one, and, two, if you care about women, you have to care about the boys, too. If you have equally educated numbers of men and women that just makes a better society, and it makes it better for women.”

The pandemic accelerated the trend. Nearly 700,000 fewer students were enrolled in colleges in spring 2021 compared with spring 2019, a Journal analysis found, with 78% fewer men.

The decline in male enrollment during the 2020-21 academic year was highest at two-year community colleges. Family finances are believed to be one cause. Millions of women left jobs to stay home with children when schools closed in the pandemic. Many turned to their sons for help, and some young men quit school to work, said Colleen Coffey, executive director of the College Planning Collaborative at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, a program to keep students in school.

“The guys felt they needed to step in quickly,” Ms. Coffey said.

It isn’t clear how many will return to school after the pandemic.

No plan
Over the course of their working lives, American college graduates earn more than a million dollars beyond those with only a high-school diploma, and a university diploma is required for many jobs as well as most professions, technical work and positions of influence.

Yet skyrocketing education costs have made college more risky today than for past generations, potentially saddling graduates in lower-paying careers—as well as those who drop out—with student loans they can’t repay.

Social science researchers cite distractions and obstacles to education that weigh more on boys and young men, including videogames, pornography, increased fatherlessness and cases of overdiagnosis of boyhood restlessness and related medications.

Men in interviews around the U.S. said they quit school or didn’t enroll because they didn’t see enough value in a college degree for all the effort and expense required to earn one. Many said they wanted to make money after high school.

Daniel Briles, 18 years old, graduated in June from Hastings High School in Hastings, Minn. He decided against college during his senior year, despite earning a 3.5 grade-point average and winning a $2,500 college scholarship from a local veterans organization.

He took a landscaping job and takes home about $500 a week. Mr. Briles, a musician, also earns some income from creating and selling music through streaming services, he said, and invests in cryptocurrencies. His parents both attended college, and they hope he, too, will eventually apply. So far, they haven’t pressured him, he said.

“If I was going to be a doctor or a lawyer, then obviously those people need a formal education. But there are definitely ways to get around it now,” Mr. Briles said. “There are opportunities that weren’t taught in school that could be a lot more promising than getting a degree.”

Many young men who dropped out of college said they worried about their future but nonetheless quit school with no plan in mind. “I would say I feel hazy,” said 23-year-old Jay Wells, who quit Defiance College in Ohio after a semester. He lives with his mother and delivers pallets of soda for Coca-Cola Co. in Toledo for $20 an hour.

“I’m sort of waiting for a light to come on so I figure out what to do next,” he said.

Jack Bartholomew, 19, started his freshman year at Bowling Green State University during the pandemic, taking his classes online. During the first weeks, he said, he was confused by the course material and grew frustrated. Finally, he quit. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said. “I just feel lost.”

Mr. Bartholomew’s parents and one older sister have college degrees. He was a solid student in high school and was interested in studying graphic design. Yet while working online from his second-floor bedroom, his introductory courses seemed pointless for how much he was paying, he said.

He works 40 hours a week, at $15.50 an hour, packing boxes at an Amazon warehouse not far from his house in Perrysburg, Ohio. It isn’t a long-term job, Mr. Bartholomew said, and he doesn’t know what to do next.

“College seems like, to me at least, the only logical path you can take in America,” he said. But for now, he said, it is too big a struggle, financially and academically.

Tomorrow’s leaders
Men dominate top positions in industry, finance, politics and entertainment. They also hold a majority of tenured faculty positions and run most U.S. college campuses. Yet female college students are running laps around their male counterparts.

The University of Vermont is typical. The school president is a man and so are nearly two-thirds of the campus trustees. Women made up about 80% of honors graduates last year in the colleges of arts and sciences.

One student from nearly every high school in Vermont is nominated for a significant scholarship at the campus every year. Most of them are girls, said Jay Jacobs, the university’s provost for enrollment management. It isn’t by design. “We want more men in our pipeline,” Dr. Jacobs said, but boys graduate from high school and enroll in college at lower rates than girls, both in Vermont and nationwide.

The young men who enroll lag behind. Among University of Vermont undergraduates, about 55% of male students graduate in four years compared with 70% of women. “I see a lot of guys that are here for four years to drink beer, smoke weed, hang out and get a degree,” said Luke Weiss, a civil engineering student and fraternity president of Pi Kappa Alpha at the campus.

Female students in the U.S. benefit from a support system established decades ago, spanning a period when women struggled to gain a foothold on college campuses. There are more than 500 women’s centers at schools nationwide. Most centers host clubs and organizations that work to help female students succeed.

Young women appear eager to take leadership roles, making up 59% of student body presidents in the 2019-20 academic year and 74% of student body vice presidents, according to W.H. “Butch” Oxendine, Jr., executive director of the American Student Government Association.

“Across all types of institutions, particularly two-year institutions, but also extending into public and private four-year institutions, women dominate student government executive boards,” Mr. Oxendine said.

Many young men are hobbled by a lack of guidance, a strain of anti-intellectualism and a growing belief that college degrees don’t pay off, said Ed Grocholski, a senior vice president at Junior Achievement USA, which works with about five million students every year to teach about career paths, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

“What I see is there is a kind of hope deficit,” Mr. Grocholski said.

Young men get little help, in part, because schools are focused on encouraging historically underrepresented students. Jerlando Jackson, department chair, Education Leadership and Policy Analysis, at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education, said few campuses have been willing to spend limited funds on male underachievement that would also benefit white men, risking criticism for assisting those who have historically held the biggest educational advantages.

“As a country, we don’t have the tools yet to help white men who find themselves needing help,” Dr. Jackson said. “To be in a time when there are groups of white men that are falling through the cracks, it’s hard.”

Keith E. Smith, a mental-health counselor and men’s outreach coordinator at the University of Vermont, said that when he started working at the school in 2006 he found that men were much more likely to face consequences for the trouble they caused under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

In 2008, Mr. Smith proposed a men’s center to help male students succeed. The proposal drew criticism from women who asked, “Why would you give more resources to the most privileged group on campus,” he said.

Funding wasn’t appropriated, he said, and the center was never built.

The University of Oregon has one of the few college men’s centers, which offers help for mental and physical health. “Men don’t need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” said Kerry Frazee, director of prevention services, who works with the center. “No one can do it all by themselves.”
 

NickFire

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"The proposal drew criticism from women who asked, “Why would you give more resources to the most privileged group on campus,” he said."

What percent of nationwide college faculty would agree with and/or promote said criticism? The answer might, or might not, shed some light on the causation.
 

Lupingosei

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I have a PhD but I would never visit an American college, I would rather work. I would have become a cop then as I planed before I went to university.
 
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p_xavier

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"The proposal drew criticism from women who asked, “Why would you give more resources to the most privileged group on campus,” he said."

What percent of nationwide college faculty would agree with and/or promote said criticism? The answer might, or might not, shed some light on the causation.
And after that the same people don't understand where white men rage comes from.
 

Punished Miku

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Clearly the result of the patriarchy.

What better way to deflect criticism of men controlling all of society than to create the systemic advancement in class, job, education, and finances of everyone but white men. It's the perfect disguise.
 

Mikado

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They mention the "arts & sciences" faculty which sounds a bit "***-studies" related? It is perfectly possible to be successful in trades or tech without university/college. Obviously not so much the case for Engineering or Medicine. But there is probably less reason to go into massive debt for a "Studies" degree that barely qualifies someone to be a starbucks barista. I suspect there are more course offerings of that type than ever before? "Higher Education" is a business after all.

Edit:
This is coming from a low-salt perspective. I completed a "Hard" degree decades ago, and got out with barely any debt which I paid off in my first year of full-time work. Some of what I studied is even tangentially related to what I actually do now. But I would probably be even further ahead if I had just worked my ass off in my actual industry for that same period of time.
 
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Artoris

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I don't think most degrees have much value they just end up as low level office workers can't think of a worst job
 
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CGiRanger

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Colleges are becoming hostile to men, men leave colleges.

News at 11.
You're not wrong. But colleges I'd say are becoming hostile and unwelcoming in general, especially in the marketplace of ideas. Here's a take from a professor who's quitting because of the current toxic environment.

https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/my-university-sacrificed-ideas-for
I never once believed nor do I now that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.

But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.
 
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DeepBreath87

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Is anyone surprised? But also, is this a bad thing? When student loan debt is upwards of $100,000 for an undergrad degree, it starts to become a bad investment. Unless you have a very clear picture of what you want to do, it doesn’t make sense to go to college. Particularly when you’re fresh out of high school.

Unless you know what you want to do, and it makes sense financially to saddle the debt, don’t go to college.
 
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AJUMP23

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Degrees that pay off, Engineering. If you have any technical degree like engineering or math, I can get you a job tomorrow that pays over $70k. Unless you are some sort of inept troll that can't string together 2 sentences. But then we could find a place for you.
 
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RJMacready73

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I cant wrap my head around the US college system, the sheer cost of it and the dept you're left with just boggles my mind, i mean you come out with a degree thats cost you the price of a house ffs
 
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I bet it's due to a lot of guys saying forget college/university. I'll do blue collar work than get saddled with giant student loans. Or they figure out how to do tech work on their own or from technical programs that dont require a 4 year degree.

Men have wider scope of jobs they'll do than women. The majority of any job requiring some toughness, dirt, daring, and fixing shit are guys. Even something that seems pretty doable by anyone (like a mail carrier) seems like mostly guys driving the van around and dumping off mail.
 
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Amory

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Idk, is this a problem? There are a lot of jobs in trades and such that don't require a college degree. And those jobs are overwhelmingly done by men.

It's an easy discrepancy to point out and be like "see??? Men are struggling!" But like, idk is it any harder for a man to go to college now than 10 years ago? I'm sure they'll still take your money
 
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AJUMP23

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I cant wrap my head around the US college system, the sheer cost of it and the dept you're left with just boggles my mind, i mean you come out with a degree thats cost you the price of a house ffs
It doesn't have to be expensive. And you can get plenty of great jobs without being at an expensive school. When I finished school I had 12k in debt at a 2% interest rate. A degree in Computer Science. I got an engineering job. I just finished a masters in May, it cost me 15k.

I am planning for my kids to go to college and I put money aside for them monthly that grows in tax free accounts. They should be able to go to school using that money without acquiring any debt. Having the degree in something practical is a better route in the US than not having one. Getting an engineering job is a good plan. My daughter wants to be a teacher, and I tell her that is OK but there are better choices because teachers in the US do not earn much. She would be better off in a technical field or business.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Idk, is this a problem? There are a lot of jobs in trades and such that don't require a college degree. And those jobs are overwhelmingly done by men.

It's an easy discrepancy to point out and be like "see??? Men are struggling!" But like, idk is it any harder for a man to go to college now than 10 years ago? I'm sure they'll still take your money
Exactly.

But the snobby viewpoint is academic white collar career or bust.

A gender study grad is viewed in higher light than someone figuring out tech on their own, an oil field worker, or a contractor who can make bank fixing those white collar people's homes.
 

strange headache

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A gender study grad is viewed in higher light than someone figuring out tech on their own, an oil field worker, or a contractor who can make bank fixing those white collar people's homes.

Universities need to get rid of that crap and refocus on intellectual excellence. Gender studies, race studies, whiteness studies, CRT and diversity studies have contributed absolutely nothing of worth so far. How do you expect to pay back your student loan if all you've ever learned is make things even more cumbersome for everybody else?
 
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Lupingosei

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Universities need to get rid of that crap and refocus on intellectual excellence. Gender studies, race studies, whiteness studies, CRT and diversity studies so far have contributes absolutely nothing of worth so far. How do you expect to pay back your student loan if all you've ever learned is make things even more cumbersome for everybody else?
You blackmail yourself into companies. Universities have used their networks to make sure that everybody has a diversity and inclusion officer and similar bs jobs.
 

Sub_Level

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American College/University isn't worth it though. It's an expensive sham that leaves you with debt. Better to self teach and find your own path.

Depends on the degree. My $25k accounting degree has greatly paid off despite me being not particularly smart or super hard working. If you're in STEM or law you can do even better. The loan payments sting, no doubt, but I get to work in an office for a salary instead of fuckin wait tables or do IT helpdesk.
 

FullMetalx117

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Engineering degrees are worth it especially at a state school. If you can be a top student, business degrees are worth it.
Other natural science degrees can be worth it if you end up getting into med school/other higher education. These suck if you can’t get in.
All other degrees…I mean if you really thought your sports marketing, acting, kinesiology, religion, art degrees were really worth the money before college you sort of deserve your situation. Those types of skills are naturally developed early on/some of the best in the word in those fields didn’t need college/education. So it’s on you if you think a college degree will get you on those peoples’ level which it won’t
 

strange headache

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You blackmail yourself into companies. Universities have used their networks to make sure that everybody has a diversity and inclusion officer and similar bs jobs.

True, but these positions still don't produce anything worthwhile. The resulting administrative overhead is probably costing your industries billions of economic growth, only to appease the online sensitivities of your modern American consumer.
 

Kenpachii

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Men realize, that going into the work force get morew work experience which is more valuable then any degree is a better plan then creating huge deb.
 

Lupingosei

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True, but these positions still don't produce anything worthwhile. The resulting administrative overhead is probably costing your industries billions of economic growth, only to appease the online sensitivities of your modern American consumer.
It costs students billions as well. The administrative body at universities was growing exponentially over the last few years, often they had to give jobs to their own students because there weren't any on the free market.
 

strange headache

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It costs students billions as well. The administrative body at universities was growing exponentially over the last few years, often they had to give jobs to their own students because there weren't any on the free market.
If the costs of your administrative jobs far outweigh your tenures, you're doing it wrong. No wonder students are paying out of their rear ends to be coddled like that.
 
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p_xavier

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Sakura

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The less people that go to college, the less jobs will require generic diplomas.
I don't consider someone more educated just because they have a bachelors of arts degree or something. My experience in post secondary education is that as long as you show up for class, you've already done (more than) half the work. It's just become a business, convince people they need to go to school so you can get their money. You also don't want people to drop out of school or fail school, because you'll stop getting money, which means the bar for success and the quality of education go down.
If we are talking about something technical, maybe skills you can't learn on your own, then sure, but most of this other stuff seems pointless.
 

CGiRanger

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You blackmail yourself into companies. Universities have used their networks to make sure that everybody has a diversity and inclusion officer and similar bs jobs.
Yep, it's a full-blown racket now outside of academia too. Sadly when we were laughing at "what are all those worthless Gender Studies degrees going to do in real life," they were building these worthless "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" programs at almost every large company now, and that's where these monies are all funneled to now.
 

Amory

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Yep, it's a full-blown racket now outside of academia too. Sadly when we were laughing at "what are all those worthless Gender Studies degrees going to do in real life," they were building these worthless "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" programs at almost every large company now, and that's where these monies are all funneled to now.
all built during the longest bull market in history. which jobs get cut next recession, though?
 
Oct 26, 2018
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The less people that go to college, the less jobs will require generic diplomas.
I don't consider someone more educated just because they have a bachelors of arts degree or something. My experience in post secondary education is that as long as you show up for class, you've already done (more than) half the work. It's just become a business, convince people they need to go to school so you can get their money. You also don't want people to drop out of school or fail school, because you'll stop getting money, which means the bar for success and the quality of education go down.
If we are talking about something technical, maybe skills you can't learn on your own, then sure, but most of this other stuff seems pointless.
Pretty true for the most part. Although in some programs you can definitely fail. One of my bros did engineering and everyone gets bad marks, bell curved, but the profs try to weed out weak students. He was like, by year 3 the classes are half the size and lots bail ship. But in business it's pretty hard to fail unless you simply just dont show up or do anything.

For those of you who are curious about MBAs, guess what? I have one. Guess what? You cant fail if you show up. Guess what? The class booklet even stated for everyone the classes will be bell curved to about a B+ average (which was 100% true when the marks were posted and everyone got B- to A- except a few A's and a few C's. Zero Ds ad Fs.

You literally couldnt fail as long as you showed up and did tests. Youd get a C at worst.

And the reason why they do this is so failed pissed off students dont give them bad reputation marks later in life. When you graduate, it's pretty hard to say the school sucks.

Thats why grad school programs in particular are so chimed in on promoting rep score from alumni.
 
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Lupingosei

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The resignation letter of Peter Boghossian fits quite well

Dear Provost Susan Jeffords,

I’m writing to you today to resign as assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University.

Over the last decade, it has been my privilege to teach at the university. My specialties are critical thinking, ethics and the Socratic method, and I teach classes like Science and Pseudoscience and The Philosophy of Education. But in addition to exploring classic philosophers and traditional texts, I’ve invited a wide range of guest lecturers to address my classes, from Flat-Earthers to Christian apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates. I’m proud of my work.

I invited those speakers not because I agreed with their worldviews, but primarily because I didn’t. From those messy and difficult conversations, I’ve seen the best of what our students can achieve: questioning beliefs while respecting believers; staying even-tempered in challenging circumstances; and even changing their minds.

I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.

But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.

Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.

I noticed signs of the illiberalism that has now fully swallowed the academy quite early during my time at Portland State. I witnessed students refusing to engage with different points of view. Questions from faculty at diversity trainings that challenged approved narratives were instantly dismissed. Those who asked for evidence to justify new institutional policies were accused of microaggressions. And professors were accused of bigotry for assigning canonical texts written by philosophers who happened to have been European and male.

At first, I didn’t realize how systemic this was and I believed I could question this new culture. So I began asking questions. What is the evidence that trigger warnings and safe spaces contribute to student learning? Why should racial consciousness be the lens through which we view our role as educators? How did we decide that “cultural appropriation” is immoral?

Unlike my colleagues, I asked these questions out loud and in public.

I decided to study the new values that were engulfing Portland State and so many other educational institutions — values that sound wonderful, like diversity, equity, and inclusion, but might actually be just the opposite. The more I read the primary source material produced by critical theorists, the more I suspected that their conclusions reflected the postulates of an ideology, not insights based on evidence.

I began networking with student groups who had similar concerns and brought in speakers to explore these subjects from a critical perspective. And it became increasingly clear to me that the incidents of illiberalism I had witnessed over the years were not just isolated events, but part of an institution-wide problem.

The more I spoke out about these issues, the more retaliation I faced.

Early in the 2016-17 academic year, a former student complained about me and the university initiated a Title IX investigation. (Title IX investigations are a part of federal law designed to protect “people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.”) My accuser, a white male, made a slew of baseless accusations against me, which university confidentiality rules unfortunately prohibit me from discussing further. What I can share is that students of mine who were interviewed during the process told me the Title IX investigator asked them if they knew anything about me beating my wife and children. This horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumor.

With Title IX investigations there is no due process, so I didn’t have access to the particular accusations, the ability to confront my accuser, and I had no opportunity to defend myself. Finally, the results of the investigation were revealed in December 2017. Here are the last two sentences of the report: “Global Diversity & Inclusion finds there is insufficient evidence that Boghossian violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment policy. GDI recommends Boghossian receive coaching.”

Not only was there no apology for the false accusations, but the investigator also told me that in the future I was not allowed to render my opinion about “protected classes” or teach in such a way that my opinion about protected classes could be known — a bizarre conclusion to absurd charges. Universities can enforce ideological conformity just through the threat of these investigations.

I eventually became convinced that corrupted bodies of scholarship were responsible for justifying radical departures from the traditional role of liberal arts schools and basic civility on campus. There was an urgent need to demonstrate that morally fashionable papers — no matter how absurd — could be published. I believed then that if I exposed the theoretical flaws of this body of literature, I could help the university community avoid building edifices on such shaky ground.

So, in 2017, I co-published an intentionally garbled peer-reviewed paper that took aim at the new orthodoxy. Its title: “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” This example of pseudo-scholarship, which was published in Cogent Social Sciences, argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. Immediately thereafter, I revealed the article as a hoax designed to shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing systems.

Shortly thereafter, swastikas in the bathroom with my name under them began appearing in two bathrooms near the philosophy department. They also occasionally showed up on my office door, in one instance accompanied by bags of feces. Our university remained silent. When it acted, it was against me, not the perpetrators.

I continued to believe, perhaps naively, that if I exposed the flawed thinking on which Portland State’s new values were based, I could shake the university from its madness. In 2018 I co-published a series of absurd or morally repugnant peer-reviewed articles in journals that focused on issues of race and gender. In one of them we argued that there was an epidemic of dog rape at dog parks and proposed that we leash men the way we leash dogs. Our purpose was to show that certain kinds of “scholarship” are based not on finding truth but on advancing social grievances. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous.

Administrators and faculty were so angered by the papers that they published an anonymous piece in the student paper and Portland State filed formal charges against me. Their accusation? “Research misconduct” based on the absurd premise that the journal editors who accepted our intentionally deranged articles were “human subjects.” I was found guilty of not receiving approval to experiment on human subjects.

Meanwhile, ideological intolerance continued to grow at Portland State. In March 2018, a tenured professor disrupted a public discussion I was holding with author Christina Hoff Sommers and evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. In June 2018, someone triggered the fire alarm during my conversation with popular cultural critic Carl Benjamin. In October 2018, an activist pulled out the speaker wires to interrupt a panel with former Google engineer James Damore. The university did nothing to stop or address this behavior. No one was punished or disciplined.

For me, the years that followed were marked by continued harassment. I’d find flyers around campus of me with a Pinocchio nose. I was spit on and threatened by passersby while walking to class. I was informed by students that my colleagues were telling them to avoid my classes. And, of course, I was subjected to more investigation.

I wish I could say that what I am describing hasn’t taken a personal toll. But it has taken exactly the toll it was intended to: an increasingly intolerable working life and without the protection of tenure.

This isn’t about me. This is about the kind of institutions we want and the values we choose. Every idea that has advanced human freedom has always, and without fail, been initially condemned. As individuals, we often seem incapable of remembering this lesson, but that is exactly what our institutions are for: to remind us that the freedom to question is our fundamental right. Educational institutions should remind us that that right is also our duty.

Portland State University has failed in fulfilling this duty. In doing so it has failed not only its students but the public that supports it. While I am grateful for the opportunity to have taught at Portland State for over a decade, it has become clear to me that this institution is no place for people who intend to think freely and explore ideas.

This is not the outcome I wanted. But I feel morally obligated to make this choice. For ten years, I have taught my students the importance of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if I didn’t?

Sincerely,

Peter Boghossian
 

gatti-man

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The less people that go to college, the less jobs will require generic diplomas.
I don't consider someone more educated just because they have a bachelors of arts degree or something. My experience in post secondary education is that as long as you show up for class, you've already done (more than) half the work. It's just become a business, convince people they need to go to school so you can get their money. You also don't want people to drop out of school or fail school, because you'll stop getting money, which means the bar for success and the quality of education go down.
If we are talking about something technical, maybe skills you can't learn on your own, then sure, but most of this other stuff seems pointless.
Wrong and wrong. Jobs won’t suddenly stop requiring higher education. This generation of men will essentially be tradesman and lower.

also yes a BA usually means someone has a higher and better breadth of intelligence than someone without it. Once you start hiring people and see work ethic in action you’ll understand this. A degree means you can think on your feet and overcome some level of adversity which is probably why most jobs require it. Searching for the diamond in the rough of uneducated people is pretty expensive and not worth it from a job creators point of view.
 
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Amory

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Future men:

napoleon dynamite your mom goes to college GIF
 
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DeaDPooL_jlp

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Colleges are filled to the brim with useless degrees with no career path that young men and women take insane loans out for that they know they'll never be able to pay back.
 

Pagusas

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Wrong and wrong. Jobs won’t suddenly stop requiring higher education. This generation of men will essentially be tradesman and lower.

also yes a BA usually means someone has a higher and better breadth of intelligence than someone without it. Once you start hiring people and see work ethic in action you’ll understand this. A degree means you can think on your feet and overcome some level of adversity which is probably why most jobs require it. Searching for the diamond in the rough of uneducated people is pretty expensive and not worth it from a job creators point of view.

Yep, plus a degree shows you were willing to commit to achieving a long-term goal, it's a key differentiator of those with and without one.
 

Sakura

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Wrong and wrong. Jobs won’t suddenly stop requiring higher education. This generation of men will essentially be tradesman and lower.
If there are more jobs that need to be filled requiring (useless) degrees than there are people with degrees, then you will see more and more jobs dropping that requirement so they can have someone fill the position. Obviously it won't be some sudden overnight change.
also yes a BA usually means someone has a higher and better breadth of intelligence than someone without it. Once you start hiring people and see work ethic in action you’ll understand this. A degree means you can think on your feet and overcome some level of adversity which is probably why most jobs require it. Searching for the diamond in the rough of uneducated people is pretty expensive and not worth it from a job creators point of view.
Based on what? And how does having a degree mean you can think on your feet and overcome diversity?
Getting a BA isn't particularly difficult. You pay the tuition (with most people borrowing money to pay, or having someone else pay for them), and then show up to class, and as long as you don't do a terrible job on the assignments, you will get the degree. What part of this process means you can think on your feet? What part of this process has you overcoming adversity?
If someone has already held a job down for multiple years, then that gives you a better idea of what kind of work ethic they have, versus whether they just have a degree or not.
 

Pagusas

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If there are more jobs that need to be filled requiring (useless) degrees than there are people with degrees, then you will see more and more jobs dropping that requirement so they can have someone fill the position. Obviously it won't be some sudden overnight change.

Based on what? And how does having a degree mean you can think on your feet and overcome diversity?
Getting a BA isn't particularly difficult. You pay the tuition (with most people borrowing money to pay, or having someone else pay for them), and then show up to class, and as long as you don't do a terrible job on the assignments, you will get the degree. What part of this process means you can think on your feet? What part of this process has you overcoming adversity?
If someone has already held a job down for multiple years, then that gives you a better idea of what kind of work ethic they have, versus whether they just have a degree or not.

Let me ask you this, you are hiring to fill a vacancy at your company. You have 2 applicants with limited experience applying. One has a degree, and one does not. Are you telling me you give no weight to the person who put in 4 years to get a degree vs the person who didn't?

And your argument that degrees are easy to get sure makes the person who didn't get one look even worse. This sounds like drop out logic, tear down/belittle those who achieved more to make one's self feel better (not calling you a drop out, rather its a common thing you hear from people who never go the extra mile, "well i'm just as good as them, that thing they did was stupid/easy, I could do it if I wanted to, ect ect".
 
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All things being equal except education level, most companies will just gun for the person with a college/university degree.

At the companies I've worked at lately, it's all people hired with university degrees, especially younger people.

But then you look at the education levels of grey haired vets whove been around for 30+ years and it can be anything from drop out to masters degree.
 

Amory

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Yep, plus a degree shows you were willing to commit to achieving a long-term goal, it's a key differentiator of those with and without one.
I'm not sure I agree with this line of thinking. Tons of people go to college just for the social aspects or because it's what they're expected to do, rather than for the long term goal of obtaining a degree.

If you walk out of school with an English degree that's fine, it's not a minus, but unless the job you're applying for can really use an English degree for some reason it shouldn't be much of a leg up. And certainly not a barrier to other applicants without a diploma, provided they've been doing something with their lives in the meantime.
 

DeepBreath87

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Yep, plus a degree shows you were willing to commit to achieving a long-term goal, it's a key differentiator of those with and without one.
Often times it only shows you’re willing to commit to taking on mountains of debt with no promise of actually acquiring anything valuable. Depending on what school a person attends and for what degree, it also shows they have no concept of a good investment.
 
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