The announcement that the University of North Carolina system is cutting 46 degree programs comes as no real surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to higher education. Higher education has had its heyday, and is now in the midst of a long, slow decline.
We should look to the titanic figures that have shaped our world for millennia before we were even born and see that they kept alive their sense of possibility, not only past the age of 22 but for their entire lives.
Four years ago, I excitedly discussed with my parents my freshman orientation and my first dormitory and my first classes and my endless stream of potential futures. We drove through a stifling North Carolina August. We moved some things into my room and I said my first goodbye.
The scandals at Syracuse and North Carolina, the shadows over Duke, the many scandals of the past and future will not vanish. The only thing that ultimately will vanish is the integrity of American higher education. That is the real Madness of March.
No one should have to prove that he or she is human, no one should have to justify that his or her beliefs make him or her worthy of having a life. Will we go through this with every minority that makes up our society?
It's not fair. Everybody deserves the right to express him or herself, without the fear that someone will treat you differently because of it.
It's not about wins and losses. It's about recognizing challenges that are bigger than basketball and having the courage to stand up to battle them. Dean Smith showed us that.
This month we're joined by award-winning playwright, journalist, and humorist Wajahat Ali for a far-ranging conversation that starts with a lengthy discussion about the recent tragic shooting of three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, NC.
By saying that we concentrate too much on the fight against terrorism and not enough against racism we are playing into the hands of the terrorists and racists.
Deah, Yusor and Razan are not to be simply lionized as exceptions to put on a pedestal for us to mourn and then forget. They are to be viewed as the standard and standard-bearers of what it means to be citizens, both in a global and local sense.
There is much to suggest these three students weren't killed solely over a parking space. This heinous act looks more like a hate crime.
The fact that someone has a propensity to behave violently doesn't ipso facto mean that they would ever express this anger by using a gun. But there is no other form of personal behavior that is as dangerous and costly as pulling a trigger at yourself or someone else. Wouldn't it be much easier to just get rid of the guns?
Those of us who would preserve and renew humane society must become as active and assertive as the terrorists and other bullies.
Equating the deaths of three young students to trying to find a parking spot faster at the mall is simply tasteless. Would Inside Edition have presented the story in this manner if the roles were reversed?
But even more has stood out to me. On top of accomplishments and talents and passions. On top of everything else Deah and Yusor and Razan had going for them. And that is the incredible impact that three positive spirits can have on this world.
I live on the outskirts of Chapel Hill (across the tracks, literally). It's been a heartbreaking time for everyone here, a frightening time for many Muslims (and those who might "look Muslim") in the region, and also a time of stirring, heartfelt solidarity and shared mourning. At a vigil at UNC Wednesday night, which was so full I couldn't hear the words from the stage but so hushed we could hear one another breathe, it was the perfect American ordinariness of the victims' family photos that brought me to tears. It's also the American ordinariness of the killer's images and attitudes that scares and saddens me. People have been quick to interpret these horrible slayings. Here are a few thoughts on how the world looks from here.