By US Inc. staff, May 6, 2020
The year 2020 has seen one of the most unrivaled global events to ever impact the U.S. health system and economy. COVID-19 has infected 1.2 million Americans with current U.S fatalities at over 70,000 (as of this writing). The massive social ramifications of the novel coronavirus has scarred the landscape and left many wondering, “What’s next?”
The fallout has reached far and wide, and American universities and colleges were hit harder than many other industries. Social distancing guidelines and specific state recommendations forced early closures of the majority (if not all) of America’s universities and colleges. Many of the nation’s top schools are suffering hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, and administrators are requesting massive taxpayer-funded bailouts. Higher education has been transformed almost overnight. Classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, libraries, stadiums, and dormitories stand empty; online learning has replaced the brick-and-mortar models; and deans and administrators are re-thinking the status quo.
Enter the National Association of Scholars.
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in New York City that seeks to reform higher education. The NAS is an independent membership association of faculty members, students, and others working to sustain the tradition of reasoned scholarship and civil debate in the university setting. The organization publishes quarterly journals and studies of current higher education policy and practices with the aim of drawing attention to the Academy’s weaknesses and encouraging improvement. Following the COVID-19 crisis, the organization has created a checklist to “revitalize” colleges and universities and to commandeer the funds from the federal coronavirus stimulus package. The NAS believes that this is an opportune time to get serious about holding higher ed. accountable for the funding these collegiate institutions receive from taxpayers, as well as to be more committed to dramatically decreasing administrative waste while championing Americanist interests.
Philosophically, the NAS believes that higher education should prepare students for virtuous citizenship which for the denizens of the U.S. should entail an understanding of the nature of democratic institutions including representative government. Rule of law is vital to the long-term health of the nation and a comprehensive understanding of Western civilization and (non-politicized) American history are key to preparing and educating future generations. Towards that end, they have published the monograph “Critical Care: The NAS Policy Recommendations to Restore American Higher Education After the 2020 Coronavirus Shutdown.”
Critical Care trumpets an ambitious rallying cry: “America’s leaders have the chance to make our colleges and universities truly great — the pride of America. We urge them to seize that opportunity.”
Due to the lockdown, many academic institutions are currently clamoring for a government bailout, and, despite legitimate arguments against subsidies for colleges and universities, the NAS believes that they should receive more taxpayer support. However, the NAS also believes that legislators and regulators should tie bailout funds to much-needed common-sense reforms and address long-standing problems in higher education. For example, American national interests are of particular importance as we, the people, have seen a significant slide towards favoring foreign interests in academia particularly for the People’s Republic of China. Among the most egregious offenders – the establishment of Confucius Institutes (which are designed to promote Chinese language and culture but which have been credibly accused of engaging in industrial spying); the Thousand Talents Program that spreads Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda, monitors Chinese nationalists in the U.S., steals American intellectual property, and creates a dependency on our nation’s schools for financial support from the CCP. Critical Care also argues that colleges and universities should be eligible to receive coronavirus-related bailout funds if they prohibit “sanctuary campus” policies and, instead, follow federal immigration laws and cooperate with enforcement agencies. Recipients of such funds should also be prohibited from hiring or enrolling illegal aliens including beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Highlights from the report:
– Limiting foreign dependence, particularly from countries such as China, that have demonstrated hostility towards American interests
– Supporting federal immigration laws by prohibiting illegal aliens to enroll as students
– Adhering to free speech and inquiry by inviting speakers, from a variety of viewpoints to be, respectfully, listened to
– Colleges and universities should only be entitled to coronavirus-bailout monies only if they receive no more than 20% of their tuition revenues from international students
– Colleges and universities should only receive bailout monies if they prohibit “sanctuary campus” policies
– Bailout recipients may not host a Confucius Institute or hire an academic who has received funding from the controversial Thousand Talents Program.
In spite of the cataclysmic societal disruptions caused by the virus, this is indeed a “teachable moment” to reevaluate our higher education systems, make them more transparent, and strategically focus on Americanist interests. Reform is needed on these key issues, and Critical Care provides a solid and persuasive blueprint for such reforms.