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  • Originally published 07/05/2013

    Claire Potter: Big Debt for Students, Big Perks for University Elites

    Claire Potter is a professor of history at the New School for Public Engagement. She blogs at Tenured Radical for the Chronicle of Higher Education. New York University's 2010 graduating class owed a total of more than $600 million in student loans. It's unlikely the university will forgive them. But NYU has forgiven portions of mortgages they have extended to President John Sexton, other university executives or star faculty - money that has been used to buy properties in Manhattan or vacation homes in the Hamptons.Does this shock you?Or, how about this: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, a former executive vice president at NYU, received an "exit bonus" of $685,000. Just to put this in perspective, Lew's NYU exit bonus alone would have provided free tuition for 275 undergraduates, or a little more than 17% of the incoming class.

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    NYU art historian a "peeping Tom"

    Hey Finocchio, what grows on you when you do something wrong and lie about it?According to the NY Post, NYU art history professor Ross Finocchio was arrested on charges of unlawful surveillance, having been discovered at a West Village boutique recording women in the dressing rooms yesterday afternoon.While in another changing room, Finocchio reportedly hid his camera in a shoe, slipped it under an adjacent door, and waited for women to enter the space....

  • Originally published 03/29/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: Why I Love, But Also Hate, March Madness

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University. He is the author of “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory” (Yale University Press).I’m a crazed basketball fan, so I love it when the NCAA tournament rolls around. But I’m also an educator, and so I hate myself for watching.That’s because college sports are – to put it bluntly – a plague on American higher education. They add a big-ticket item to our mounting costs, and they compromise our academic quality. And now we’ve got the numbers to prove it.Let’s start with costs. Colleges in the Football Bowl Subdivision – the most competitive of the Division I programs – spent an average of nearly $92,000 per athlete in 2010, according to a January study by the American Institutes for Research. For the student population at large, the average per capita spending was less than $14,000.I’ll spare you the math: These schools spend more than six times as much on athletes as they do on students generally....

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Richard Sylla, historian at NYU's Stern School, on the record Dow

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average goes back to May 26, 1896. Richard Sylla goes a lot farther back than that.Sylla, an economist at the Stern School of Business at New York University and chairman of the Museum of American Finance, is one of the nation’s most eminent financial historians. He is a natural source to put the Dow’s latest record in long-term context.The historical perspective, Sylla tells me in this recent video interview, suggests that “if we’re lucky we may see a series of these all-time highs.” He adds wryly, “There are such things as bull markets.”...

  • Originally published 02/25/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: What's Wrong With the Slavery Math Lesson?

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of education and history at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”In 1941, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a report condemning racist school textbooks in New York City. Music books routinely referred to blacks as "darkeys," while literature anthologies called them "coons" or "Sambos." Worst of all, American history textbooks depicted slavery as a genteel institution developed by benevolent white Southerners to "civilize" savage, ignorant Africans.All of these books were profoundly offensive to the city's African-American population, of course. But they were also full of lies, as NAACP secretary Walter White emphasized. "This study was made not on a basis of racial sensitiveness or pride," White wrote, describing the NAACP's textbook report, "but on the highest plane of historical accuracy and objectivity." Indeed, the report drew on research by pioneering black historian Carter G. Woodson to refute the textbooks' cheery portrait of life under slavery.

  • Originally published 02/19/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: A History Lesson on Assassinations

    I taught a course last month in the United Arab Emirates, which isn’t a democracy. But according to an Emirati guy I met there, the United States isn’t much of a democracy, either.“Anyone you don’t like, you just assassinate him with a drone,” he told me. “Shoot first, ask questions later.”But now lots of people are asking questions about U.S. drone strikes, especially after the recent confirmation hearings for John O. Brennan. Nominated by President Barack Obama to direct the Central Intelligence Agency, Brennan defended the CIA’s targeted killings in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere as essential to national security....

  • Originally published 09/04/2013

    Revolutions: Three Different Kinds

    Alyssa's posting, like Peter Stearns' earlier, implicitly touch on the questions of leadership and revolutionary stages. Perhaps in any discussion of revolutions it may be worth keeping in mind that those who begin revolutions rarely are the ones who finish them. (The American Revolution, perhaps better called by its other common term, the War for Independence, is an anomaly that perhaps misleads Americans about revolutions.) In comparing revolutions and leadership, perhaps several variants are worth keeping in mind ....