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Letter to the Editor: On invited speakers

An article recently captured my attention concerning Stanford faculty members raising concerns and attempting to restrict student access to an invited speaker. Reading that Stanford University faculty members were in some way attempting to shield students from ideas is so preposterous as to be laughable.  Stanford is and remains a university whose faculty is known…

Op-Ed: Save Stanford’s world-class press

I am writing to you as a scholar of the Holocaust and as a two-time Stanford University Press author. I was distressed to read this past week in various news sources that you plan to significantly cut support for the press. According to those who work closely with SUP, this cut could lead to the demise of one of the nation’s premier outlets for academic scholarship. It is difficult for me to understand how one of the world’s richest educational institutions could be so shortsighted as to risk such a dire outcome, even in a budget year that you have described as “tight.” I am writing in the hope that you can still be convinced to reverse this misguided decision and save the reputation of your university.

Lost in conversation

“Granted, one can’t effectively convince someone who is skeptical of the truth of P that it is true by relying on an inference that ultimately comes back to P, but perhaps circular inferences can provide justification despite being dialectically ineffective.” I catch myself nodding in agreement, strategically placed mumblings of “of course” and “mm-hm” giving…

Being a beginner in a beginning class

Foundational lectures. Introductory seminars. Frosh-friendly courses. All these terms were thrown around during the frenzy of open enrollment. Upperclassmen, RAs and Carta were full of colorful opinions and recommendations for naive freshman like myself. I, like many of my peers, spent the summer scouting for the “must take” courses like the infamous CS 106A or…

Gatekeepers of knowledge

Centuries ago, most literate people belonged to the clergy. By controlling the means of transmitting knowledge, the church–birthplace of modern universities, was the gatekeeper of knowledge and exerted great influence over national policies. In the postmodern religion of technology, a new breed of gatekeepers will challenge governments and academia for the right to decide the future.