Unemployed and under-employed law graduates have sued several law schools, claiming the schools used false or misleading employment data to induce them to enroll and spend $150,000-or-so of their yet-to-be-earned dollars. One law school advertising tactic, for example, was to label jobless graduates as “not seeking” employment; this allowed a school to hide the abysmally high unemployment rate of its graduates. Another, more common tactic was to count graduates as “employed” even when their jobs had absolutely nothing to do with law (e.g., working at Starbucks), or were only temporary jobs created by the law school to artificially boost its employment statistics. Another was to say that, for example, 92 percent of all grads were employed, when in fact only 92 percent of the 40 percent who responded to the survey were employed. In sum, law school advertising at many schools took tremendous liberties in spinning the facts.
Monday, October 12, 2015
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Many people — especially people at colleges and universities — have come to believe they have a right not to be offended. The only explanation for this oversensitivity is the complete misunderstanding of the First Amendment. (Click here for a First Amendment primer.) This is particularly obvious when someone claims that another person’s speech isn’t free speech, but offensive speech. Of course, the First Amendment protects offensive speech. And, as a practical matter, if the speech weren’t offensive, it probably wouldn’t need constitutional protection in the first place. The most recent incident of this came when a college newspaper published an op-ed questioning whether the tactics of a particular political movement were really effective. What followed after the publication of the “controversial” essay was predictable: offense was taken; outrage was expressed; punishment was demanded; apologies were issued; and, likely, the college newspaper has learned not to publish any articles that express a contrarian viewpoint or question today’s politically correct stances. But how did we become such a bunch of spineless, mealy-mouthed worms who insist that free speech has to take a backseat to our imagined right not to be offended? Ken White at Popehat explains how this happened in his post titled “Safe Spaces” and the Mote in America’s Eye. The post is also filled with links to numerous other posts, essays, and related works — a must read for anyone interested in the current state of free speech. In sum, there is a real risk that the First Amendment, at least in some settings, will soon go the way of the Fourth Amendment — so enjoy this constitutional right while it lasts. [UPDATE: Richard Dawkins on free speech on campuses, here.]