We are not making this up. In the continuing negative aftermath of the merger of Mount Ida College into the UMass system, a Boston-area undertaker (and Mount Ida alumnus) has come up with an unusual way to express his outrage: “Mount Ida College was being buried, and the only way I could get that point across was to put it on a hearse.” Peter Stefan has accordingly adorned one of his black hearses with protest messages, including “Stop UMass Amherst” and “Your College Students Could Be Next!”
-In St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Catherine University plans to layoff about 50 faculty and staff as it “right-sizes” in the face of uncertain prospects for growth. The university represents a blend of old-fashioned and progressive models, with a Catholic college for women at its core, combined with other programs for adult and other non-traditional students.
-The Aspen Institute has announced its top ten finalists for their next biannual Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Their press release presents ten fine-looking schools, six of which are in either Florida or Texas. The winner will receive $1 million.
-College Consensus, which generates meta-rankings by combining lists from media outlets such as Forbes and US News and World Report, has released its list of Best Christian Colleges. Calvin College (in Grand Rapids, Michigan) takes the top spot.
-Spelman College, a historically black college for women in Atlanta, has phased out its jazz program. NPR explains that it has been increasingly difficult for families to justify jazz study within the context of Spelman’s high tuition costs.
-Have you been cyber-vetted? We’re all familiar with the warnings to job applicants about the risks of immature social media posts, but now we’re being told that anything is better than nothing. According to a national Harris Poll conducted for CareerBuilder, 57% of employers “are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. The majority of companies will dig through social profiles, but find it even more suspect if they see nothing at all.”
-In important revelations about Gen Z this week, we learn that “Gen Z is the Most Regretful of All Ages About Missed Travel Opportunities,” and “Gen Z Consumers Favor All-Day Breakfast Concepts,” especially Banana Berry Smoothies and Overnight Oatmeal. For some reason this reminds us of Francis Bacon’s observation: “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”
-It seems the New York Times is not above the pursuit of click-baity content. We came across a creepy posted survey of theirs, aimed at ages 13+, asking students: “How Brutal Was It? Tell Us How You Survived 2018 College Admissions.” The survey includes questions such as, “What is something extreme that you did to compete, even if you’re not proud of it?” Be on the lookout for a resulting story which exaggerates the tragedies of the college application process.
-During our recent conversation with Princeton Professor Keith Whittington about his book “Speak Freely,” we discussed how the campus free speech principles he supports could be introduced into freshman orientation or other instructive forums. Since then, we’ve learned that rising Princeton freshmen will read and discuss the book this summer in preparation for their college ventures. We commend Princeton for this proactive leadership!