In 1969, President Richard Nixon formally declared
a “war on drugs” that would be directed to combat the
use of illicit drugs in the U.S. This and other “wars,”
such as the “war on gangs” or “war on cancer” have
come to signify major efforts by the federal government
against something they perceive as a threat.
In past articles in this column I have written about
concerted efforts by some groups and conservative
media to diminish funding for higher education, defame
college education as a passport to better standards
of living, portray colleges and universities as “liberal
nests” out of control, and promote anti-intellectualism.
But now, in the last two weeks, we have seen signs of
major efforts by the federal government to undermine
some of the basic tenets of how colleges and universities,
both private and public, operate.