Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead Trump efforts to cut higher ed administrative bloat

The Chronicle has the news here:

Jerry L. Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, has been asked by President Trump to head up a new task force that will identify changes that should be made to the U.S. Department of Education’s policies and procedures, Mr. Falwell told The Chronicle on Tuesday.

The exact scope, size, and mission of the task force has yet to be formally announced. But in an interview, Mr. Falwell said he sees it as a response to what he called “overreaching regulation” and micromanagement by the department in areas like accreditation and policies that affect colleges’ student-recruiting behavior, like the new “borrower defense to repayment” regulations.

“The goal is to pare it back and give colleges and their accrediting agencies more leeway in governing their affairs,” said Mr. Falwell, who said he had been discussing possible issues with several other college leaders and at least one head of an accrediting agency for the past two months. “I’ve got notebooks full of issues,” he said. …

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18 Responses to Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead Trump efforts to cut higher ed administrative bloat

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    This could be a good thing. Higher education is wasting loads of money complying with ever more stringent federal regulations. Just like I am going to be wasting a lot of discretionary time dealing with the ever more complex tax code.

    UO has undergone a huge amount of administrative growth over a very long period of time. Nobody has really examined this systematically, at least not in public. A lot of it has to do with complying with federal regulations.

    If Trump is serious about eliminating some of this waste and hassle, the colleges might be wise to take him up on it and run with it.

    I remember an earlier time when federal research officials expressed surprise and delight to me personally, when an administration to which they were reflexively hostile made welcome changes that made their work easier and more effective.

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  2. Poe's Law says:

    Serious question: Is “honest Uncle Bernie” a parody account? The neverending string of compositional fallacies and red herrings read more like a Bill O’Riely transcript than someone affiliated with higher education.

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  3. New Year Cat says:

    Please tell me this is from The Onion.

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  4. Focused anger cuts says:

    Just so we are clear, this man is a leader of a university because he inherited the position. With the significant exception of his JD from UVA, his entire academic career is routed through his papa’s various academic institutions.

    “Biologists” working at Liberty U are required sign papers expressing their support for intelligent design and opposition to evolution.

    This man is going to “trim the fat” at American universities.

    HUB says many things that I oppose but that I find at least coherent and credible. Seeing a silver lining in Falwell Jrs. appointment is ridiculous.

    Are there no conservative REAL academics that Trump could appoint, such that he has to draw on Falwell, Jr? Of course there are. Many. Including some with actual depth of experience at real universities.

    So, Trump supporters have to ask themselves why he chose Falwell? The answers should not be fantastical or positive or mindless wishcasting.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Focused — You can look at it that way if you like. Personally, Jerry Falwell Jr. would not be my choice for advice on higher education if I were President. I’m not and never will be.

      Like it or not, Donald Trump is, for the foreseeable future. If Falwell is interested in cutting higher education administrative bloat, I say bully for him. Such bloat is one of the major targets for criticism of higher education, on the left as well as the right. A great deal of higher ed administration is fine with the bloat, is responsible for it. Nobody has done much of anything about it except talk. Clinton, W. Bush, Obama did nothing. If Trump wants to take a whack at it, I applaud that.

      People in higher ed can spend the next four or eight or however many years throwing tantrums or sulking about Trump. Or they can take advantage of whatever opportunities he affords.

      I see an opportunity here. I think higher ed — those interested in things like, say, more money for faculty and less for wasteful administrative bloat — would be smart to run with it.

      If and when Falwell Jr. tries to force colleges to teach intelligent design, well, I’ll be very attentive. I don’t expect that to happen.

      Inheritance (either of wealth or social status) is a disqualification for high public office? Tell that to the Bushes, the Kennedys, John Kerry, Al Gore. Tell it to Donald Trump. Tell it to the ghost of FDR. Then, when they hear you, tell it to Jerry Falwell Jr.

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      • Read says:

        In your rush to fall in line behind Trump, did you bother to actually read the article? Nowhere (outside of UOM’s headline) does it mention that either Trump or Falwell have expressed any interest at all in addressing your bugaboo.

        The article instead states that Falwell wants to eliminate “‘overreaching regulation’ and micromanagement by the department in areas like accreditation and policies that affect colleges’ student-recruiting behavior.” How in the world are you imagining that these policies will decrease administrative budgets? Wouldn’t this clearly have the opposite effect?

        Is your hackery really so severe that you must defend imaginary positions in order to avoid criticizing the person you voted for?

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        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          In the first place, neither you nor anyone else knows whether I voted for Trump, or Clinton, or someone else, or nobody at all. Only in your imaginary world.

          I do plead guilty (along with the UOM headline, which I took as an invitation to comment on a Trump move which I hadn’t heard about) to taking it that there might be an in interest in the new administration in the terribly needed needed task of doing something about administrative bloat in colleges.

          I stand by that, after reading various accounts.

          It is precisely because the goals are fluid that I regard this as a possible OPPORTUNITY for positive change in higher education.

          As I say, higher ed can try to run with it or not.

          I suspect that merely throwing a tantrum (or worse) for maybe 8 years is not going to end well for higher ed.

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          • just different says:

            Possible opportunity for positive change? Have you seen any evidence that anyone in the Trump administration has any interest in taking anything other than a my-way-or-the-highway approach to pushing through their own agenda?

            In this case the agenda is quite obviously letting fringe and for-profit predators do whatever they want. Even if we agree that “reducing administrative bloat” is good for universities, the Trumpsters couldn’t care less about it. Appeasing them in the hope that you’ll get something out of it is not going to work–look at how they’ve treated any appeasers so far.

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          • Read says:

            “there might be an in interest in the new administration in the terribly needed needed task of doing something about administrative bloat in colleges. I stand by that, after reading various accounts.”

            Which accounts did you read? What evidence did those accounts provide to justify your homer attitude?

            Your admiration for Trump really shows in your rhetorical style. “The president’s gonna do great things for higher education. Believe me. Great things. I’ve talked to do many people that think so. Great people. Smart. And let me tell you, all these liberals are just throwing a tantrum. We’re gonna make them pay. Sad!”

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          • Anonymous says:

            HUB, the point I am making is that this is not an opprtunity because of what we know about Trump and Falwell re education.

            JFK was a Congress person and Senator. FDR had two decades of government experience. HRC as well. Bush I as well and GWB was twice elected Governor of a major state.

            Falwell by contrast has done nothing comparable. He moved through daddy’s schools, inherited the pulpit, and inherited running a “university”. Not to mention his conflict of interest in seeking to clear away some oversight of his institution and others like it.

            So your counter examples do nothing for me.

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      • Focused anger cuts says:

        Terrible comparisons. Terrible.

        GHWB was a Congressman, Director of CIA, UN Ambassador. GWB was a twice elected governor of one of our biggest states. John Kerry was a Senator for decades and earned medals for heroism in Vietnam and helped lead opposition to the Vietnam war. FDR ran in 1920 on a presidential ticket, served as Secretary of Navy, and Governor of NY before running for President. Al Gore was a Senator of nearly two decades before running for president, and that after serving as an elected VP.

        Falwell Jr is a nothing who has accomplished nothing other than inheriting his father’s pulpit and university.

        If you think your comparisons are helping make your case to be optimistic about Falwell, then I am not sure what else there is to say.

        If you were appointed to this commission maybe eliminating undefined administrative bloat would be your priority. It is clear from his “record” as Crown Prince of Liberty U, Jrs will be about removing Title IX oversight, removing bars on federal funding of religious institutions and proselytizing, and many other issues.

        If you choose to stick your head in the stand about this due to some inchoate blind optimism and hoping for the best and new opportunities…that is a shame. Willful ignorance is not easily corrected.

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    • just different says:

      Like all of Trump’s political pronouncements over the past decade or so, it ain’t about policy. And it really ain’t about making universities work better. It’s about stoking the culture war, or equivalently, pandering to “the base.” While the rest of us are fighting about that, a few lowlifes are going to be making out like the bandits they are.

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      • just different says:

        I meant “past year or so.” But it sure feels like it’s been a decade.

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  5. duckduckgo says:

    Here’s a page from the science book used at Falwell’s Liberty U.
    https://twitter.com/kevinroose/status/826630781892251648

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  6. Plain Interested says:

    Jerry Falwell first: This guy just hired Baylor’s former AD to be Liberty’s. Let’s be fair. This AD over saw Baylor’s reported football related 17 sexual assaults by 19 players in the last 5 years. The most recent lawsuit alleges 52 assaults by 31 players. So, Jerry Falwell has good judgement??? And we are talking Jerry Falwell, the regilious guy as good for higher education??

    Uncle Bernie: You are on crazy train going off the rail. Following your thought process, there will be no title IX, no tenure, no grants based on science, and I’m just getting started. So, Bernie, please leave the deep thinging to others.

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  7. Plain Interested says:

    Thinking, not thinging.

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    • dog says:

      Deep thinking and blog comments are antithetical
      much like Trump policy and fairness …

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