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All is not well with American universities, according to the latest issue of New Republic, out this week. The magazine has devoted a 14-page section to chronicling the woes of our institutions of higher education through an introductory lament and seven cogent, generally well-document complaints.
Professor Seymour Harris writes about the financial plight of universities, pointing out the ways in which income has fallen and costs have risen. Two contributors discuss student withdrawal from politics and threats to academic freedom respectively. Both articles contain interesting information, but are not too sharp on analysis. Professor William T. LaPrade's article on hysteria--the political, not the psychological, kind--reiterates the stand of the American Association of University Professors on the right to teach, but does not contain much new material.
Perhaps the two most interesting articles of the survey are those that have little to do with immediate crises. David Daiches' critique of American university education--he is a professor from England who has taught on and off in this country for the past fourteen years--is itself worth the price of the magazine, for students anyway. And Harris Wofford's analysis of the foreign student situation explains a problem that is straightforward, but at the same time complicated and important. All in all, the issue is good reading and good value.
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