About the Center for the American University
The mission of the Manhattan Institute's Center for the American University (CAU) is to draw attention to the condition of the contemporary university. The CAU highlights the major challenges facing today's universities,
including rising costs, the lack of intellectual pluralism, and the failure to provide students with a substantive education.
Prescriptions for reform that will restore the best traditions of liberal education on American campuses are set forth in the CAU's unique initiatives: MindingTheCampus.com, the VERITAS Fund, the Capitalism Project, and the
newly created Adam Smith Society.
The CAU's web magazine, Minding the Campus (MTC), includes daily commentaries, original essays, and a blog. MTC draws upon the best from established
magazines and publications, as well as from professional journals, blogs, and student publications. It provides transcripts and videos of CAU events; podcasts and book reviews; and "must reads"—an archive of key documents,
research, books, and articles on campus issues.
Minding the Campus actively fosters a free exchange of views—one of fair and balanced discussions instead of polemical monologues. The magazine is edited by John Leo, former U.S. News and World Report
columnist and current CAU senior fellow. Leo's popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S. News & World Report for 17 years, and was syndicated in 140 newspapers.
Today's students are rarely exposed to the thoughtful literature on capitalism that has been developed over the past few centuries. Most universities are failing to teach their students about capitalism's broader institutional,
political, and moral themes; its links to limited government, progress, and invention; and the sources of anti-capitalist criticisms.
In short, a rounded portrait of capitalism is not presented on campus partly because the subject crosses disciplines, partly because academic disciplines have become increasingly focused on quantitative modeling, and
also because no one is rewarded for it. Given the recent financial crisis and economic recession, this weakness in the curriculum is even less likely to be rectified now than perhaps it might have been a few years ago—despite the
urgent need for a deeper understanding of capitalism. Those who would defend capitalism often find that they are not equipped to do so due to a systemic misunderstanding—or worse, a systemic ignorance—of the principles that
lie behind it.
In order to address this problem, the CAU partners with the Marilyn G. Fedak Capitalism Project to encourage students, professors, alumni, and business people to discuss both the principles surrounding capitalism
and the best ways to might expose students to these principles. Click here to learn more.
While thousands of young people continue to flock to MBA programs and go on to become entrepreneurs and talented executives, it remains far from certain that many will be able to defend, let alone comprehend in a meaningful
sense, the political-economic system that enables their own success.
To address this failure, we launched the Adam Smith Society —— a national organization for business schools akin to what the Federalist Society has been for law schools. The Adam Smith Society is a community of business
school students dedicated to exploring the links among the economy, government, and society. The Society believes that business, entrepreneurship, and commerce are wellsprings that keep this country vibrant, creative,
prosperous, and free. Through debate and discussion, the Society aims to advance this idea on campus and among business leaders.
In fall 2011, the Adam Smith Society sponsored a pilot program at Harvard Business School. By the close of the 2012 academic year, we grew this program to five chapters at our nation's leading business
schools. In the years to come, we hope to continue to launch chapters at other top-tier business schools across the country—growing the national organization.
To become involved or for more information, visit adamsmithsociety.com.
In 2007, the Manhattan Institute created the VERITAS Fund for Higher Education at DonorsTrust.
The VERITAS Fund at DonorsTrust is a donor-advised fund that seeks out professors at top-tier universities who are committed to bringing intellectual
pluralism to their institutions. Working with these professors, we fund "centers of academic excellence" within universities that help introduce a new generation
of students to broader perspectives than are available on most campuses with regard to our three main issue areas: western civilization, the American
founding, and political economy. The general objective of these programs is to give students a different view of Western Civilization and American economic and
political institutions than the critical approach taken toward these subjects in most college curricula.
The objective of the Fund is, therefore, to reform to higher education by underwriting programs and courses in subjects which until now have been neglected on
the campus or have been out of favor within the largely one-sided professoriate. This is a constructive strategy that allows us to work in cooperation with
colleges and universities to bring something new and badly needed to their campuses. In this sense, we are not attacking higher education for its flaws but
rather working with it to improve and strengthen its offerings.
The VERITAS Fund's lodestar is Professor Robert George's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton
University. The Madison program, which is dedicated to studying American constitutional law and Western political thought, was founded
in 2000 and is a powerful example of how relatively modest funding, employed tactically, can drive the development of new institutions on campus.
In its inaugural year, the VERITAS Fund raised and largely committed $2,500,000 to seeding centers on the campuses of Boston College,
Brown University, the University of Colorado, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Emory University, Georgetown University, New
York University, the University of Texas, and the University of Virginia. Of these programs, five were established programs that
used VERITAS funds to help augment their existing effortsoften significantly. The remaining five were created from scratch, made
possible only by the promise of three years of VERITAS Fund support. Click here for more information on
Kangaroo Courts on Campus: Yale,
Duke, and Due Process
Two of the leading defenders of free speech and due process at our nation's colleges and universities, Harvey Silverglate and KC Johnson discussed what led to an
egregious denial of due process on college campuses, and what can be done to ensure the protection of student rights.
Are Too Many People Going to
Peter Sacks, author of Tearing Down the Gates, and George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, debated whether
college is right for everyone. Read the opening statements here.
Elizabeth Warren's cheekbones Charlotte Allen, Los Angeles Times, 05-27-12
Should UC Overhaul How Campus Police Handle Student Protests? Ben Boychuk, The Sacramento Bee, 04-19-12
Career Lies My Graduate School Told Me Steven Malanga, RealClearMarkets, 03-14-12
How Affirmative Action Backfires at Universities Heather Mac Donald, Time, 02-28-12
Affirmative Disaster Heather Mac Donald, The Weekly Standard, 02-14-12
How Western Civilization Disappeared From College Campuses Herbert London, NewsMax, 12-13-11
Should In-State Tuition Be Available To Kids Brought Here Illegally? Ben Boychuk, The Sacramento Bee, 09-28-11
The Promise of Special Education Vouchers Marcus A. Winters, National Affairs, 09-21-11
Teacher Competence Counts More Than Credentials Marcus A. Winters, Washington Examiner, 09-15-11
Liberating The Economy's New Commanding Heights Paul Howard, The Daily Caller, 08-15-11