In 2006, during a time when challenges to academic freedom were emerging on college and university campuses from both ends of the political spectrum, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Board of Directors issued a comprehensive statement exploring the concept of intellectual diversity as grounded in AAC&U’s foundational commitment to liberal education.
The ideal of higher education as a public good—once inextricably linked to the American Dream—has been all but abandoned in favor of the college degree as a private commodity. The narrow focus on earning power, coinciding with demographic shifts in the number and diversity of college students, has fueled the understanding of college as a purely private benefit rather than a good for all.
The most significant challenge facing higher education today is our growing economic segregation. College completion rates for those at the lowest socioeconomic rungs continue to lag far behind those of their wealthier peers, not only due to diminished financial resources but also because of a lack of social and cultural capital. Redressing this phenomenon will require offering an education that prepares each and every student for success in work and life, while inspiring them to take seriously their social responsibilities in a society plagued by persistent inequities.
Members of Congress,
We are a coalition of women leaders from business, law enforcement, government, domestic violence prevention, women’s advocacy, journalism, entertainment and public health. Like Americans all across our country, we are outraged by the mass killing in Orlando and other recent tragic events. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families. But sadly, these recent tragedies are only the latest horrific events in our national gun violence crisis that claimed 33,000 lives last year. This crisis is destroying families and our communities.