Conference eyes government overreach in higher ed

Grove City College hosts a conference of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) this week that will look into government overreach in higher education.

The National Association of Scholars’ “Capitol Ideas: Government Overreach in Higher Education” conference on Friday, August 10, and Saturday, August 11, brings academics, policy advocates, researchers and government officials to campus to discuss pressing questions about federal involvement in higher education.

The conference’s theme seems tailor-made for Grove City College, which decades ago fought to maintain its independence from federal regulations all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, the College does not accept any federal funding, including student loans and grants, and remains a bastion of independent and excellent private higher education.

The College’s legal odyssey will be covered ably for the gathered scholars by John A. Sparks, fellow of the College’s Center for Vision & Values and retired dean and longtime Grove City College faculty, at a 9 a.m. Saturday session.
Grove City College Professor of Political Science Paul G. Kengor will address “Faith, Freedom, and Higher Ed” over lunch on Saturday. Kengor also serves as senior director and chief academic fellow of the Center for Vision & Values.

David Ayers, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, attended the association’s first conference in 1988 and many since. He said he was pleased that Grove City College was hosting NAS, a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship and excellence in American higher education.

“From important white papers, their journal Academic Questions, networking opportunities and provocative media appearances, NAS is a premier, non-doctrinaire and non-sectarian organization fighting for academic freedom and excellence, the importance of truly liberal education, and the study of Western Civilization,” Ayers said.

Over the course of the two-day conference, participants will join in panels and conversations about: where higher education derives its income; how the government funds progressive politics on campus; how civil rights mandates shape college; can the government ensure freedom of speech on campus; hostile foreign influence on higher education; government-sponsored science; free speech; faith; and regulation.

They’ll hear from a dozen speakers including keynote speaker Steven Hayward, senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley; Paul J. McNulty, ’80, president of Grove City College, Wilfred McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma; Spencer Kashmanian, associate consultant, American Philanthropic, LLC; Rachelle Peterson, NAS policy director; Diane Auer Jones, senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education; Travis Barham, Alliance Defending Freedom; Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Edward Bartlett, president, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments; Michael Meyers, president and executive director, New York Civil Rights Coalition: Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics emeritus, Ohio University; Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder, Open the Books; and David Randall, NAS director of research.

Other Grove City College faculty participants include Jason Edwards, professor of History; Caleb Verbois, associate professor of Political Science; and Mark Hendrickson, adjunct professor of Economics and Sociology.

The conference is open to the public, but there is a fee and registration is required. 
Conference eyes government overreach in higher ed

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