Cultures of Abuse

Two articles from this weekend have brought further into focus the degree to which higher education is plagued by a persistent and pervasive culture of abuse.

In their article, “Investigation at Yale Law School,” Dahlia Lithwich and Susan Matthews provide a thorough and depressingly familiar account of the abusive system of power by which law students are unable to hold faculty accountable for inappropriate behavior for fear of losing out on opportunities for prestigious clerkships.

Here is a passage:

The picture we got from these conversations is not one of straightforward abuse but rather a fraught and uncomfortable situation full of insinuation and pushed boundaries that can make learning difficult and has the potential to push women out of the pipeline for the most prestigious and competitive areas of the law.

In his article, “A University Comes Undone,” Michael Sokolove provides a thorough and depressingly familiar account of how big-time college athletics perverts the academic mission of universities by focusing attention on the University of Louisville.

Here is a passage:

An emphasis on athletics at a university — which always means the revenue sports of football and men’s basketball — tilts the conversation toward men. … At its most extreme, the focus on sports boils over into misogyny.

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