Christianity Provided the Framework in Which Learning Could Flourish

To the Editor:

In “The Great Accreditation Farce” (The Chronicle, June 30), Peter Conn argues that religious colleges should be denied accreditation since they fail to allow an atmosphere of skeptical and unfettered inquiry. He further ridicules religious colleges as serving to affirm the beliefs of like-minded people and claims that religion is opposed to modern science.

Mr. Conn seems to miss the fact that by denying accreditation to religious colleges, he would impose his own thought control…

Recalling an Earlier Texas Stand Against an Interfering Board

To the Editor:

The courageous and canny stand of President William C. Powers Jr. of the University of Texas at Austin against board members who sought his dismissal (“How the U. of Texas Flagship’s Chief Built the Power Base That Saved His Neck,” The Chronicle, July 11) recalls events of almost a half century ago at the university’s law school, of which Mr. Powers was dean before he came president of the university.

I summon memories from the late 1960s, when I was a junior faculty member at the…

Accreditation Farce? Look to the Liberal-Arts Curriculum

To the Editor:

There is something ironic in Peter Conn’s opening reference to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni as it concerns the problems with accreditation (“The Great Accreditation Farce,” The Chronicle, June 30). He hearkens back to a 2002 report, but he could have referred to one published just last year by the council’s Institute for Effective Governance. In neither of these reports, however, is there mention that religious affiliation is a plausible cause for the deterioration …

Seeking to Discriminate Against Gay Citizens Is ‘Un-American’

To the Editor:

As an openly gay American citizen and the CFO of a private college in Massachusetts, I find it insulting and un-American for a college president to oppose hiring gay and lesbian citizens of this country. D. Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College, has sent a letter to President Obama asking him to carve out an exemption for religious colleges from Mr. Obama’s planned executive order that would prohibit those organizations receiving federal tax dollars from discriminating in…

It’s Time to Let Big-Time College Sports Go Corporate

To the Editor:

Brian Porto et al. (“The ‘Big Five’ Power Grab: the Real Threat to College Sports,” The Chronicle, June 19) inform us that the “real threat” to college sports exists because the Big Five “foolishly” put their financial interests ahead of the well-being of college athletics. Imagine that, a cartel protecting its financial interests. And we are shocked out of our complacency by another Porto et al. revelation that the “overriding goal of the Big Five is to win football and…

Religious Colleges, Peter Conn, and the ‘Bill Mahr Dichotomy’

To the Editor:

A recent article by Peter Conn—“The Great Accreditation Farce” (The Chronicle, June 30)—claims that the accreditation process, in its current state, is detrimental to the larger goals and purpose of the academy. Mr. Conn, a professor of English and education at the University of Pennsylvania, cites many poignant reasons to critique the accreditation process. For example, Mr. Conn relays that, “Students attending institutions that are not accredited are ineligible for federal f…

‘Penumbra of Silence’ Often Surrounds Confucius Institutes

To the Editor:

A penumbra of silence often surrounds the establishment and functioning of Confucius Institutes in American colleges and universities, giving these ostensibly academic enterprises an uncharacteristic air of secrecy. This aspect of the Confucius Institutes project was not noticed in the recent Chronicle article on the AAUP’s rebuke of colleges for hosting Confucius Institutes (“AAUP Rebukes Colleges for Chinese Institutes and Censures Northeastern Ill.,” June 15). As the AAUP did p…

Conn ‘Conflates Religious Colleges Into One Retrograde Battle’

To the Editor:

It is difficult to know where to begin in responding to Peter Conn’s “The Great Accreditation Farce” (The Chronicle, June 30). But here’s a try.

Where would we be without centers of learning founded by religious people? Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor, Brigham Young, and other big universities are in this number, not to mention a myriad of smaller institutions, from Amherst, the Bethels, and Carleton to the Xaviers, Yankton (1881-1984), and Zion (now merged into…

‘Skeptical and Unfettered’ Is in the Eyes of the Beholder

To the Editor:

While attending Wheaton College (“The Great Accreditation Farce,” The Chronicle, June 30), I saw plenty of skeptical and unfettered inquiry, which Professor Conn regards as the touchstone of worthiness for accreditation. Much of it was directed toward secularism, naturalism, and relativism—subjects he might wish to see spared.

Olin Joynton
President
Alpena Community College
Alpena, Mich

Orthodoxy Does Not Trump Reason at Every Church-Affiliated College

To the Editor:

It is easy to agree with Peter Conn’s conclusion that the national accreditation of certain fundamentalist colleges makes a mockery of the process and is a travesty that should be discontinued. (“The Great Accreditation Farce,” The Chronicle, June 30.)

If I were an employer or worked in graduate-school admissions, I would indeed hesitate to accept someone with a degree from Bryan College, Wheaton College, or any other institution where the teaching of evolution is discouraged, div…