Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Inside Higher Education today alerted us to the new book
'The Constitution Goes to College: Five Constitutional Ideas That Have Shaped the American University in which the author, Rodney A. Smolla, president of Furman University, "argues that key values in American higher education can be traced to the U.S. Constitution. Some of the traditions in academe that the book traces to the Constitution include the divide between public and private spheres, the distinction between rights and privileges and ideas of equality." The book is published by New York University Press. Quote is from Inside Higher Education, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/04/26/new_book_about_how_the_constitution_influences_higher_education retrieved April 26, 2011. The Inside Higher Education article, also available via tiny url: http://tinyurl.com/constitutionuniversity, includes an interview with the author. Following is one question and an excerpt from the author's response:
"Q: How do you see the Constitution influencing the shape of private higher education in the United States, given that private colleges are not state actors?

A: I argue that there is a 'shadow constitution,' a blend of statutes, contracts, and customs, providing a network of principles that often mirror the protections that derive directly from the Constitution, providing legal or customary protections that largely reflect constitutional principles and doctrines. ..."

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