WSJ—I’m not inclined to hire a graduate from one of America’s elite universities. That marks a change. A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much.
As a graduate of Haverford College, a fancy school outside Philadelphia, I took interest in the campus uproar there last fall. It concerned “antiblackness” and the “erasure of marginalized voices.” A student strike culminated in an all-college Zoom meeting for undergraduates. The college president and other administrators promised to “listen.” During the meeting, many students —————————
Even those who aren’t woke seem damaged by the experience, and they’re deprived of role models.
displayed a stunning combination of thin-skinned narcissism and naked aggression. The college administrators responded with self-abasing apologies.
Haverford is a progressive hothouse. If students can be traumatized by “insensitivity” on that leafy campus, then they’re unlikely to function as effective team members in an organization that has to deal with everyday realities. And in any event, I don’t want to hire someone who makes inflammatory accusations at the drop of a hat.
Student activists don’t represent the majority of students. But I find myself wondering about the silent acquiescence of most students. They allow themselves to be cowed by charges of racism and other sins. I sympathize. The atmosphere of intimidation in elite higher education is intense. But I don’t want to hire a person well-practiced in remaining silent when it costs something to speak up.
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I’ve met recent Ivy grads with conservative convictions who manifest a form of posttraumatic stress disorder. Others have developed a habit of aggressive counterpunching that is no more appealing in a young employee than the ruthless accusations of the woke.
In recent years, I’ve taken stock of my assumptions about who makes for the best entry-level employee. I have no doubt that Ivy League universities attract smart, talented and ambitious kids. But do these institutions add value? My answer is increasingly negative. Dysfunctional kids are coddled and encouraged to nurture grievances, while normal kids are attacked and educationally abused. Listening to Haverford’s all-college Zoom meeting also made it clear that today’s elite students aren’t going to schools led by courageous adults. Deprived of good role models, they’re less likely to mature into good leaders themselves.
My rule of thumb is to hire from institutions I advise young people to attend. Hillsdale College is at the top of that list, as are quirky small Catholic colleges such as Thomas Aquinas College, Wyoming Catholic College and the University of Dallas. In my experience, graduates from these sorts of places are well-educated. But more important, they’ve been supported and encouraged by their institutions, and they haven’t been deformed by the toxic political correctness that leaders of elite universities have allowed to become dominant.
Large state universities and their satellite schools are also good sources. In my experience, top-performing students at … Read More>