With Presidency Uncertain, an Anxious Higher Ed Braces for What’s Next

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tags: higher education, colleges and universities

The future of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, which has been defined by an embrace of anti-intellectualism and a rejection of the kind of international collaboration that is so central to higher education’s ethos, remained uncertain in the wee hours of Wednesday, as votes continued to be counted in his race against Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The absence of a clear winner in Tuesday’s election, which has been expected to drag on because of a surge in mail-in voting related to the Covid-19 pandemic, left unclear whether higher education is in for four more years of jousting with President Trump or a return to many of the policies that Biden championed as vice president under Barack Obama.

Trump’s presidency, predicated on an “America First” principle that many academics see as a threat to the global exchange of ideas, has featured regular onslaughts against the values and practices of higher education, which Trump has condemned as politically correct and corrosive. Through executive orders and legal action, the Trump administration has blocked international travel into the U.S. from certain foreign countries, banned diversity training for recipients of federal contracts, challenged racial considerations in college admissions, and threatened (briefly) to deport international students if they did not take in-person classes amid the threat of Covid-19.

Biden would very likely undo much of the Trump administration’s approach to higher education, while pressing a proposal to make college tuition-free for families with incomes less than $125,000.

Most important to many in higher education, though, would be Biden’s embrace of the value of scientific expertise, which Trump, throughout the pandemic, has questioned and even belittled.

Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education

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