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Another One Leaves Academia

A reader writes:

I don’t know if anyone has already posted this, but “The Demands” have been aggregated for some days at http://www.thedemands.org. As of the moment, the site includes a list of 72 universities where protests are taking place, the demands of the protesters, and the telling phrase, “These are living demands and will grow and change as the work grows and changes.”

In addition to the Campus Demands section, it also includes a section on National Demands. This includes the following header:

Michael Brown Jr. was murdered on August 9, 2014.This nationwide movement began as a response to his murder, highlighting the systemic and structural racism that allows Darren Wilson to remain free. These are our beliefs and our demands.

As far as I can tell, none of the demands include a call for a more challenging, well-rounded education.

Some years ago, I began my academic career. Lord willing, I shall complete a Ph.D. in my field this year. I had intended to carry on in academia, because I wanted to teach the things I love. I am glad to say that I am already teaching the things I love, but in a different setting. Working with some interested families who’d already organized a hybrid home school/private school for elementary and middle school students, we have developed a new high school as well. It’s not easy and not without its risks, but teaching at and administering a classical, Christian high school is both more engaging and more meaningful than my past experiences teaching at secular universities.

So I’m another fellow leaving academia, and I can’t say I’m sorry to do so. This kind of nonsense is endemic. I have posted here using a pseudonym since I’ve been an academic, fully recognizing the need to keep my head down and my mouth shut. (I could relate stories about the priorities of departments like my own, but those would be telling and I must still finish.) But that time may be drawing to a close for me, though not for others. I am thankful for what I have learned from the good teachers I’ve had, but I don’t think I’ll look back after I walk away. Things have become worse every year and show no signs of improving.

Administrations are only hastening the end to the charade that the modern university system. Colleges of Law, Medicine, Education, and STEM will surely survive. But I can’t see a way to salvage these bloated, indebted universities once families realize what they’re driving themselves into debt for.

Somehow, we have to save the humanities from the colleges and universities, and keep the light alive until more rational times return.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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