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Colleges and Universities


The term college is a general one that encompasses a wide range of higher-education institutions, including those that offer two- to four-year programs in the arts and sciences, technical and vocational schools, and junior and community colleges. The term university specifically describes an institution that provides graduate and professional education in addition to four-year post-secondary education. Despite these distinctions, the terms college and university are frequently used interchangeably in the United States.

The first institution of higher education in the United States was Harvard College, founded in 1636. At the time of the Revolutionary War, nine colleges existed in the colonies—a number that had tripled by the time of the Civil War. In 1876, the first true university in the United States was established, with the founding of Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore. The university format rapidly gained popularity, and prominent private and state-run colleges soon assumed university status. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 4,084 colleges and universities operated in the United States in 1999.

U.S. colleges and universities fall into two general categories: private and public. Private institutions are usually corporations operating under state charters. Although tuition and private gifts and endowments provide much of their financial support, most private colleges and universities also receive some degree of government support. Many of the 2,000-plus private colleges and universities in the United States claim a religious affiliation.

Public institutions are established either by state constitution or by statute, and they receive funding from state appropriations as well as tuition and endowments. Although the federal government operates several institutions of higher learning, such as the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy, it is prohibited by statute from exercising direct control over other educational institutions.

The Legal Climate

U.S. colleges and universities are governed by many of the same laws that regulate the rest of U.S. society. In addition, they have generated a unique body of law. Educational institutions reflect the legal climate of the rest of the country, but the importance of a good education has elevated equal access, equal opportunity, and academic freedom to a higher status than they might otherwise assume.

Three general types of laws affect the operation of colleges and universities. State laws affect public and private colleges and universities in the absence of federal laws that supersede them. Federal laws may affect public and private institutions, and they usually affect entities that receive federal funding or that are subject to regulation under the commerce clause of the Constitution. The most common such laws are statutes that prohibit discrimination. Finally, the Constitution governs public, but almost never private, institutions.

As state entities, public institutions must conform to constitutional provisions that prohibit the state from discriminating and from denying constitutional rights. Thus, much of the law of public institutions stems from constitutional amendments such as the following:

  • the Free Speech Clause of the first amendment, which guarantees that the government will not interfere with freedom of speech
  • the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which ensures that the government will not interfere with or outlaw religious expression
  • the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from endorsing or establishing a state religion
  • the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment, which guarantees that a state will enforce its laws equally with respect to all persons, with certain exceptions
  • the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires the state to provide certain procedural safeguards before depriving an individual of a liberty or property interest. State-run institutions also are subject to state and often federal law.

Private institutions are not governed directly by the Constitution. Instead, they are regulated solely by state and federal law. Since the mid 1960s, federal laws enacted pursuant to Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce have enabled the federal government to regulate much private university activity that the Constitution cannot reach directly. Such federal statutes often protect against discriminatory behavior not otherwise foreclosed by the Constitution, such as discrimination based on age or disability. Accordingly, a university may not discriminate merely because it is a private entity. The most important statutes governing the behavior of private universities are the same statutes regulating public accommodations, employment, and federally funded activities:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000a et seq., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race by entities that receive federal funding
  • Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, or religion, by entities employing a certain number of workers (generally 15)
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (codified in scattered sections of 7, 12, 16, 20, and 42 U.S.C.A.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender by entities that receive federal funding
  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 621 et seq., which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age against individuals between the ages of 40 and 70 by entities employing a certain number of workers (generally twenty)
  • the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, codified in scattered sections of 2, 29, 42, and 47 U.S.C.A., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations, transportation, and employment, by a wide range of privately owned entities
  • the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C.A. § 701 et seq., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by entities that receive federal funding
  • the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C.A. § 403 et seq., which establishes federal financial aid programs and the conditions accompanying them; the education department (until 1980, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare) administers Title VI, Title IX, and the Higher Education Act.

Racial Discrimination

The Equal Protection Clause and Public Institutions The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a state from denying to individuals the equal protection of the laws. This clause requires, among other things, that a state and its instrumentalities may not treat members of different racial or ethnic backgrounds differently unless the discriminatory action is necessary to achieve a compelling government purpose and is narrowly tailored to satisfy that purpose. Despite the Fourteenth Amendment's passage in 1870, public higher education in the United States remained legally segregated on the basis of race until the mid-1950s. This de jure (i.e., legally sanctioned) segregation may be traced to a pre-Civil War decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court upholding the legality of segregated schools in the heart of abolitionist territory (Roberts v. Boston, 59 Mass. [5 Cush.] 198 [1849]).

After the Civil War, Congress outlawed slavery and made discrimination by the state unconstitutional, with the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Not much changed, however, as states, obligated to provide all citizens with the equal protection of the laws, devised bifurcated educational systems that provided white citizens with one set of schools and black citizens with a supposedly parallel, but grossly underfunded and qualitatively inferior, set of schools. These systems were approved by the U.S. Supreme Court as "separate but equal" in Cumming v. Board of Education of Richmond County, 175 U.S. 528, 20 S. Ct. 197, 44 L. Ed. 262 (1899).

Public centers of higher education also remained segregated and unequal. Many states established dual systems of higher education. A number of states established whites-only flagship campuses, with separate blacks-only campuses that received less funding and fewer resources; others simply refused to admit black students.

In the early twentieth century, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (naacp) began its attack against segregated schools at the university level, where it won a series of cases that eroded the separate-but-equal principle. In the first of these cases, decided under the Equal Protection Clause, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state could not avoid training qualified black law students by providing them tuition payments to out-of-state

law schools rather than permitting them to attend an in-state school (Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337, 59 S. Ct. 232, 83 L. Ed. 208 [1938]). Next, in McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637, 70 S. Ct. 851, 94 L. Ed. 1149 (1950), the Court held that the University of Oklahoma could not force its only black graduate student to sit in a hallway adjoining the classroom in which a course was offered, nor could it require the student to sit behind a railing marked "Reserved for Colored." Finally, in Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 70 S. Ct. 848, 94 L. Ed. 1114 (1950), the Court found that a proposed blacks-only law school in Texas would be unequal to the prestigious and then-all-white University of Texas Law School not only in the quality of its tangible facilities but also in the quality of such intangibles as reputation and education.

Despite these early victories, de jure racial segregation of public colleges and universities did not become illegal until the Court decided brown v. board of education of topeka, kansas, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873

(1954). Following Brown, schools throughout the United States were required to adopt desegregation policies, but de facto (i.e., actual) segregation remained in many university systems.

Litigation in the federal courts continues more than 40 years after Brown. In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the state of Mississippi had failed to satisfy its duty to desegregate the state university system, in United States v. Fordice, 505 U.S. 717, 112 S. Ct. 2727, 120 L. Ed. 2d 575 (1992). In Fordice, the state had eliminated its requirement that blacks and whites be educated separately, but allowed previously white schools to remain distinct from previously black schools, and inaccessible to black students. By the mid-1980s, previously all-white schools in Mississippi remained over 80 percent white and previously all-black schools remained over 90 percent black. The Court found that the state's policy of requiring higher American College Test (ACT) scores for admission to white schools than to black schools perpetuated the state's formerly de jure dual system because it effectively foreclosed many black students from attending white schools and forced them to attend black schools, which received less funding. The Court ruled that merely abolishing legal segregation and implementing race-neutral policies (i.e., policies that purport to treat individuals equally without regard to race) did not satisfy the state's duty to desegregate. Instead, the Court held, if schools or school policies maintain racially identifiable characteristics that can be traced to state action, the state may be deemed to perpetuate former discriminatory practices in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. In the wake of Fordice, federal courts re-examined segregated systems of higher education in several states (Knight v. Alabama, 14 F.3d 1534 [11th Cir. 1994]; United States v. Louisiana, 9 F.3d 1159 [5th Cir. 1993]).

Federal Law and Private Institutions In 1964, in response to the slow pace of racial reform, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race (and sometimes gender) in public accommodations, federally funded programs, and employment. Title VI of the act prohibits discrimination "on the basis of race, color, or national origin," in "any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," which includes many centers of higher learning in the United States. Title VI reaches state and private schools that receive direct federal funding. It also reaches some institutions that receive no direct federal aid but that have a significant proportion of students who do (Grove City College v. Bell, 465 U.S. 555, 104 S. Ct. 1211, 79 L. Ed. 2d 516 [1984]).

Affirmative Action Beginning in the late 1960s, in response to the civil rights movement, many universities began adopting affirmative action policies. Such policies attempt to encourage or to promote racial equality by ending de jure inequalities that remain even though legal inequalities have been abolished. In the beginning, many institutions employed quotas that reserved a certain number of spots for applicants of racial minorities. Other institutions considered membership in a racial minority as one variable in determining whether to admit a student.

It was not long before affirmative action policies came under legal attack as "reverse discrimination." The first serious challenge to affirmative action, regents of the university of california v. bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 98 S. Ct. 2733, 57 L. Ed. 2d 750 (1978), fundamentally changed its structure. In Bakke, Allan Bakke, a civil engineer of Norwegian descent, applied for admission to a medical program at the University of California. The program in question set aside 16 spaces for minority students out of a class of 100. Candidates for the set-aside spaces did not have to meet the minimum grade-point-average threshold established for other candidates. Although Bakke's grade-point average fell slightly below the minimum, he argued that he would have been admitted on an evaluative basis if the set-aside spots had not existed. He sued the university under Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause, arguing that the affirmative action program discriminated against him on the basis of his race. The U.S. Supreme Court found that the university's affirmative action program violated Title VI because it used strict racial quotas to determine admission.

The Court found that the program also violated the Equal Protection Clause, because it was not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling government interest. The Court observed that the program was designed to remedy the effects of general societal discrimination (a legitimate, but not compelling, government interest), not its own specific discriminatory practices, which might constitute a compelling interest. Nonetheless, the Court held that the use of race as one criterion in determining admission does not violate either Title VI or the Fourteenth Amendment. In doing so, it did not prohibit all consideration of race in admission decisions, noting with approval certain programs that take race into account to promote educational diversity.

Following Bakke, programs that set aside a fixed number of spaces for minority students no longer constituted an acceptable means of affirmative action. Most universities that maintained affirmative action programs adopted the type of program approved in Bakke, which permits the consideration of race in admission or scholarship decisions in order to encourage diversity. Some schools also introduced scholarships that were designed to benefit only certain groups, such as students belonging to a particular race. Beginning in the mid-1980s, as the U.S. Supreme Court began holding that affirmative action programs designed to remedy the effects of past discrimination would need to satisfy the same strict standards as other race-based classifications (City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 109 S. Ct. 706, 102 L. Ed. 2d 854 [1989]), race-restricted scholarships became the focus of lawsuits.

In Podberesky v. Kirwan, 38 F.3d 147 (4th Cir. 1994), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit considered a challenge to the University of Maryland's Banneker Scholarship program, a merit-based scholarship for which only black students were eligible. Daniel J. Podberesky, a Hispanic student, qualified for the Banneker Scholarship in all respects but race. He sued the university, alleging that the scholarship program discriminated on the basis of race. The university countered that the program was designed to remedy the institution's own past discrimination, which had led to the underrepresentation of black students at the university. The court held that the Banneker program violated the Fourteenth Amendment because it was not narrowly tailored to remedy the effects of the university's past discrimination.

Gender Discrimination

Segregated Public Institutions The Equal Protection Clause does not require states to satisfy the same strict standards for gender discrimination as for racial discrimination. Whereas states are held to a "strict scrutiny" requirement with regard to racial discrimination, they need only demonstrate that discrimination on the basis of gender substantially furthers an important government purpose.

The men-only policies maintained by the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and the Citadel, of South Carolina, have been challenged throughout the years by women seeking admission. In the early 1990s, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit considered two unrelated cases that challenged the legality of men-only public colleges: Faulkner v. Jones, 51 F.3d 440 (1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 910, 116 S. Ct. 331, 133 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1995), and united states v. virginia, 44 F.3d 1229 (1994), cert. granted, 516 U.S. 910, 116 S. Ct. 281, 133 L. Ed. 2d 201 (1995) (hereinafter VMI).

The same court reached two different results in VMI and Faulkner, because Faulkner involved an individual plaintiff who had sought admission to the Citadel, whereas VMI was brought by the department of justice and did not involve a particular student.

In Faulkner, the Court required the Citadel to admit the plaintiff, Shannon Faulkner, because Faulkner was a "real live plaintiff." The court explained that, although admission to the school was the only appropriate remedy in a case involving a live plaintiff, the state might later develop a parallel program, as recommended in VMI, or adopt a coeducational policy.

In VMI, the court held that because "homogeneity of gender" was integral to the type of

leadership education provided at VMI, maintaining a men-only college substantially furthered the legitimate public purpose of providing unique leadership education. It then held that the establishment of a separate-but-parallel, state-sponsored women's college with substantially the same goals as VMI's would satisfy the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause. Faulkner withdrew shortly after the school year began, putting an end to any possible appeals in her case. However, the Court did hear the government's appeal from the VMI decision and held that Virginia's categorical exclusion of women from VMI denied equal protection to women (United States v. Virginia, 116 S. Ct. 2264). The Court agreed that gender-based classifications are not completely forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause, but it stated that Virginia had failed to provide "exceedingly persuasive justification" for excluding women from VMI. In addition, the Court held that the separate-but-parallel women's college that Virginia had proposed violated the Equal Protection Clause, terming the women's college a "pale shadow of VMI" in terms of its educational and leadership opportunities.

Title IX Eight years after Congress enacted Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it amended the act to extend protection against discrimination in federally funded programs to include gender. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 parallels Title VI and has been used to attack gender discrimination in such diverse areas as admissions, scholarships, discipline, and sexual harassment. For example, in Sharif v. New York State Education Department, 709 F. Supp. 345 (S.D.N.Y. 1989), a federal district court held that the state of New York could not use Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores as its sole criterion for awarding college scholarships, without violating Title IX. Because girls scored an average of 60 points lower on the test than boys did, and because the SAT was not, and did not purport to be, a measure of past performance in school, the court ruled that its use had a discriminatory effect on the awarding of scholarships without bearing any relationship to a reward for successful performance in high school. In Yusuf v. Vassar College, 35 F.3d 709 (1994), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a private college may have discriminated against a male student who allegedly sexually harassed a female student, by systematically applying different and stricter standards to sexual harassment proceedings than to other disciplinary proceedings. And in Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60, 112 S. Ct. 1028, 117 L. Ed. 2d 208 (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment in educational institutions and that teachers who sexually harass or abuse students discriminate on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX.

Title IX's most visible effect has been in college athletics. Most colleges and universities operate men's and women's athletic programs, some of which participate in intercollegiate competitions administered by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Title IX caused a great deal of concern when first enacted, as many schools were concerned that they could not remedy unequal participation by men and women in various athletic programs without going to considerable expense or cutting successful programs to achieve gender equality. These schools also were uncertain about the degree of equalizing that would be necessary in order to avoid lawsuits.

In response, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Education) established a three-part test for determining whether an institution is complying with Title IX with respect to its athletic program. An institution has accommodated the interests of male and female students if it satisfies any of the three benchmarks:

… intercollegiate-level participation opportunities for male and female students are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments; or

Where the members of one sex have been and are underrepresented among intercollegiate athletes, … the institution can show a history and continuing practice of program expansion which is demonstrably responsive to the developing interest and abilities of the members of that sex; or

Where members of one sex are under-represented among intercollegiate athletics and the institution cannot show a continuing practice of program expansion, … it can be demonstrated that the interests and abilities of the members of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program (44 Fed. Reg. 71,418 [1979]).

The balance between a university's interest in maintaining a profitable and successful athletic program and its need to comply with Title IX is a delicate one. In Kelley v. Board of Trustees, 35 F.3d 265 (1994), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit addressed a typical case involving these competing interests. In Kelley, the men's swim team at the University of Illinois sued the university for violating Title IX after the school cut the men's, but not the women's, swimming program in an attempt to eliminate unprofitable athletic programs and to reduce its budget deficit. Although neither swim team was popular with spectators, and both programs were historically weak, the university did not cut the women's program because its legal counsel advised that doing so would violate Title IX. The court ruled that eliminating the men's program, but retaining the women's program, did not violate Title IX even though the school treated the two programs differently.

Although Title IX continues to have many critics, the effect that it has had upon women's athletics is practically unquestioned. Twenty-four years after the enactment of Title IX, the number of female athletes at the Olympic Games in Atlanta had risen to 287. The interest among spectators was almost startling, especially because women's athletics had suffered for years in order to garner support. About 65,000 fans watched the women's soccer team in 1996 win the gold medal, and another 35,000 spectators watched the women fall in the finals of the softball competition.

Interest in women's sports continued to increase throughout the 1990s. Although several professional women's basketball leagues had been established, few were successful. This changed in 1997 with the establishment of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), which garnered support from the established National Basketball Association. The league has had unprecedented success, maintaining contracts with television networks that show the games. The focus on women's athletics expanded to a national scale in 1999, when the United States women's soccer team won a stunning victory in the World Cup competition. Neither the men's nor the women's soccer teams had had success in world-class competition, and the women's victory transformed many of the female athletes to celebrity status.

Few question that these events would have occurred were it not for Title IX. Women's college basketball, probably the highest-profiled sport for female athletes, typically receives equal attention as the corresponding men's programs. Likewise, softball and soccer have gained popularity among individual schools as spectator sports. Nevertheless, college and universities continue to pour extensive resources into larger men's program, especially football and men's basketball.

Many athletic departments note that these men's programs earn more revenues based upon a much larger fan base, so the support is justified. Athletic departments often chose to drop minor men's sports instead of adding women's sports, citing the budgetary constraints. Advocates for women's programs counter that cutting the budgets of these programs would not likely hinder the revenues significantly and that it would allow athletic programs both to add women's programs and to retain smaller men's programs.

Policies under the administration of President george w. bush have come under fire from supporters of women's athletics. During his campaign, Bush stated his opposition toward any racial or gender quotas, and some felt that this policy could cause conflict with Title IX. In 2002, the secretary of education established the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, which issued its final report on February 28, 2003. Although the commission found that opportunities should be improved for all competitors, women's groups claimed that the report undermines the importance of improving opportunities for women's programs specifically.

Academic Freedom: The Right to Speak Freely

The First Amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from infringing on freedom of speech. Not surprisingly, freedom of speech, which is central to academic freedom, is highly prized on college and university campuses. At the same time, most educational institutions recognize the importance of maintaining an atmosphere in which all students enjoy equal educational opportunities and freedom from discrimination. The need to balance differing individual rights has led many universities to enact policies purporting to regulate or discipline certain types of speech, and was the focus of many First Amendment cases in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Racially and religiously motivated acts of vandalism, intimidation, and violence on college campuses began to attract increased attention in the mid 1980s. Much of this activity involved incidents like the following:

  • A fraternity fund-raising "slave auction" featuring fraternity members in blackface who were "sold" to provide services to bidders
  • The distribution at a state school of leaflets warning,"The Knights of the ku klux klan Are Watching You"
  • A poster made by a student and hung on her dormitory room door, listing "homos" as a category of people who would be "shot on sight"

In response, many universities adopted policies that prohibited speech and conduct that caused offense or interfered with educational opportunities based on any number of characteristics, especially race, national origin, gender, and religion. The University of Michigan adopted a typical policy on discrimination and discriminatory harassment that became the subject of a lawsuit in 1989. In Doe v. University of Michigan, 721 F. Supp. 852 (1989), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan examined this policy and determined that it violated the First Amendment because it was vague and overbroad—that is, it was unclear about the scope of the speech that it would affect and thus potentially encompassed constitutionally protected speech. Doe was filed by a graduate student who feared that his theories about genetic bases for differences between men's and women's relative abilities to perform certain tasks would be regarded as a violation of the policy were he to discuss them in class, because some students might regard them as sexist and offensive.

The court agreed that the university policy violated the First Amendment and had a "chilling effect" on the free exchange of ideas. The court observed that the policy certainly applied to speech that would not be constitutionally protected, such as imminent threats of violence, but also swept under its umbrella speech that might be controversial or even offensive but otherwise constitutionally protected. "It is firmly settled," noted the court,

that under our Constitution the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers. These principles acquire a special significance in the university setting, where the free and unfettered interplay of competing views is essential to the institution's education mission.

The court then observed that because Michigan's policy was so vague that it encompassed even constitutionally protected speech, and because this vagueness led to the potential for arbitrary enforcement, the policy was unconstitutional.

First Amendment protection is not limited to the classroom setting alone. In Iota Xi Chapter v. George Mason University, 993 F.2d 386 (1993), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that George Mason University, a state university, had violated the Sigma Chi Fraternity's First Amendment rights by suspending its privileges as a university organization after the fraternity held an event, called the Ugly Woman Contest, that depicted women in a particularly degrading manner. The court held that skits, like motion pictures, movies, theatrical productions, and nude dancing, are a form of expression that are entitled to First Amendment protection.

Public university professors and employees also enjoy First Amendment protection, but as workers in the public sector, they are subject to certain limits. Generally, unlike private-sector employees, who may be disciplined or terminated for nearly anything that is not prohibited by state or federal law, public-sector employees may not be disciplined on the basis of their speech if the speech involves a matter of public concern. The state may discipline an employee if it can show that it would have done so regardless of the speech, or if the speech actually interfered with the effective fulfillment of public responsibilities.

In Jeffries v. Harleston, 52 F.3d 9 (1995), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the City College of New York could reduce the term of a black studies professor's chairmanship based on an off-campus speech he had made (which had included derogatory remarks about Jews) about bias in the New York public-school system. The court ruled that although the speech involved an area of public concern, the college was justified in reducing Jeffries's term because it was motivated by a reasonable prediction that the speech would adversely affect the school's operation. In an earlier case, the same court had held that the City College of New York could not undermine a philosophy professor's classes by setting up "alternative" sessions for students who might want to transfer out of the classes after the professor had published letters to scholarly journals that denigrated the intelligence of blacks (Levin v. Harleston, 966 F.2d 85 [1992]).

Even so, not all speech by public university employees is protected. Employees still may be disciplined for speech that does not involve an area of public concern, as the courts have defined it. In Dambrot v. Central Michigan University, 839 F. Supp. 477 (E.D. Mich. 1993), aff'd, 55 F.3d 1177 (6th Cir. 1995), the district court upheld the termination of a basketball coach who used the term nigger in a locker-room pep talk. The university refused to renew the coach's employment contract, arguing that his use of the term violated the university's policy on racial and ethnic harassment. Although the court found that the school's policy violated the First Amendment (for the same reasons as in Doe), it also found that the coach's speech did not involve an area of public concern.

A public institution also may restrict religious speech by faculty if failure to do so would violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause (Bishop v. Aronov, 926 F.2d 1066 [1991]). In Bishop, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the University of Alabama could constitutionally restrict a professor from discussing his religious views during class, and could instruct him not to hold optional class sessions to discuss Christian perspectives on academic topics. The court noted that were the professor permitted to engage in these activities, the university would risk violating the Establishment Clause, which prohibits states from establishing religion and, by extension, extending preferential treatment to, or endorsement of, a particular religious view.

Religion and Public Funding

The Establishment Clause prohibits states from establishing an official religion. Thus, a public university may not denominate itself as a religious school, nor may the state directly fund

a private religious school. At the same time, the Free Exercise Clause prohibits states from restricting individuals in the practice of religion. Thus, a public university may not permit all student groups except for religious groups to use its facilities. Maintaining a balance between the two clauses is not simple, and it has generated controversy in two principal areas: the extent to which the state may fund attendance at private religious schools indirectly, and the extent to which public schools may fund religious activities on campus directly.

Public Funding of Private Religious Practice In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105, 29 L. Ed. 2d 745 (1971), which defined the scope of the Establishment Clause. In Lemon, the Court held that a state policy or practice violates the Establishment Clause if it fails to satisfy a three-part test: First, the policy must serve a secular purpose. Second, the primary effect of the policy cannot be to advance or inhibit religion. Third, the policy cannot foster an excessive entanglement of the state with religion.

Unfortunately, the Lemon test is easier to state than to apply, and it has led to numerous lawsuits concerning the relationship of state-funding programs to private religious organizations. Generally, a state law that provides benefits to individuals without regard to religion does not violate the Establishment Clause even if an individual uses the state benefits for a religious purpose. For example, in Witters v. Washington Department of Services for the Blind, 474 U.S. 481, 106 S. Ct. 748, 88 L. Ed. 2d 846 (1986), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a blind Washington resident was eligible for state vocational rehabilitation assistance, even though he planned to use the funds to complete his religious training at a Christian college. The Court held that payment of public assistance by the state satisfied the Lemon test because the aid was provided directly to the individual, was not skewed toward religion in any way, and created no financial incentive for students to undertake religious education. Furthermore, the Court noted that the primary effect of the assistance program was not to advance religion and that religious programs would not benefit in any significant or disproportionate way from the state program.

In contrast, in Stark v. St. Cloud State University, 802 F.2d 1046 (1986), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that a state university violated the Establishment Clause by permitting education students to satisfy their student-teaching requirement at parochial schools. The court noted that the public university approved the use of religious schools, including them on a list of appropriate schools for student teaching, and that because of this, the university had entangled itself excessively with religion.

Public Schools and Religious Activity Funding of religious activities in public schools requires similar balancing. The U.S. Supreme Court held in 1995 that a public university may fund a student-run religious publication without violating the Establishment Clause. In Rosenberger v. Rector of the University of Virginia, 515 U.S.819, 115 S. Ct. 2510, 132 L. Ed. 2d 700 (1995), a sharply divided Court considered a Christian student group's claim that the university's refusal to pay the publication costs of its newspaper, even though it paid the costs of printing other student publications, violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The university had convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that it had a compelling interest in not funding the newspaper: specifically, to avoid violating the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from establishing, or promoting, religion. Before the U.S. Supreme Court, the university backed off on this argument and instead stated that it had a right to be selective in its choice of recipients of public funds (i.e. university student fees). The Court considered both arguments and found that the university's policy regarding the distribution of monies from student fees was neutral, that is, that it could not be seen as a policy designed to advance religion; the Court therefore concluded that the free speech rights of the student publication prevailed and ordered the university to pay the publication costs of the Christian student group's newspaper.

Termination of Employment Claims

Colleges and universities have often been the subject of lawsuits by former employees who have been terminated. Many of these claims arise when an institution refuses to grant tenure to a faculty member. In most educational institutions, teachers and other faculty members are not guaranteed permanent employment when they are hired for a teaching position. The institution generally requires the teacher or professor to achieve certain goals, such as publishing scholarly articles or demonstrating superior teaching skills, within a prescribed period of time, often six to eight years. In state institutions, the process for granting tenure is usually prescribed by statute.

At the conclusion of this time period, an institution reviews the performances of the teacher, professor, or other employee. If the review is favorable, the institution may award tenure to the employee. Although tenure does not necessarily guarantee lifetime employment, it provides considerable protection for the employee from being terminated by the institution. On the other hand, if the employee is denied tenure, he or she will not be retained as an employee of the institution.

More often than not, disgruntled former employees lose their cases when they contest denial of tenure. Many contest the tenure process, while others claim breach of contract on the part of the institution. Additionally, several courts have had to consider whether a college or university has violated the constitutional rights of an employee by denying him or her tenure. For example, in Hendrich v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin System, 274 F.3d 1174 (7th Cir. 2001), the complainant claimed that the University of Wisconsin atwhitewater had violated her equal protection and due process rights when the school denied her tenure. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied her claims, finding that she had failed to meet the necessary burden of persuasion on these issues.

further readings

Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States. Available online at <> (accessed November 11, 2003).

Eisenberg, Theodore. 1996. Civil Rights Legislation: Cases and Materials. 4th ed. Charlottesville, Va. Michie.

Giamatti, A. Bartlett. 1988. A Free and Ordered Space: The Real World of the University. New York: Norton.

Grossman, Joel B., and Richard S. Wells. 1988. Constitutional Law and Judicial Policy Making. 3d ed. White Plains, N.Y.: Longman.

Journal of College and University Law. Various issues.

Kaplin, William A., and Barbara A. Lee. 1997. Legal Guide for Student Affairs Professionals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

——. 1995. Law of Higher Education. 3d ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Religion; School Desegregation; Schools and School Districts.

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Background. In colonial America as in Europe, colleges were the primary institutions of higher learning. Their establishment in America was yet another manifestation of the European commitment to preserve Western culture despite the challenges of the wilderness and its savage inhabitants. In Spanish America and New France the Catholic Church led the way in establishing colleges, whose first priority was propagating the faith among both Indians and colonists. The religious motive was also dominant in the founding of Protestant colleges in British North America. Throughout the colonial era Latin and Greek classics dominated the curricula of American colleges. However, under the impact of Enlightenment thought, advances in mathematics and the natural sciences began to make their way into the college curriculum in the later eighteenth century.

Spanish, Dutch, and French. Although learned laymen as well as clergy settled in the Spanish borderlands, no college was established there in the colonial era. From Florida, children of the elite attended college in Santo Domingo or Mexico City, and those from the provinces of New Mexico and Texas went to Mexico City. It should be emphasized that the universities at Mexico City and Lima, both established in 1551, were by 1700 thriving institutions that rivaled the leading Catholic

universities in Europe. Returning to Spain for their college education was another option that some chose. New Netherland did not have a college, but several young men from the Dutch colony attended Harvard, and others returned to the Netherlands for their education. In New France the Jesuits founded a college in Quebec in 1635, though a genuine college curriculum was not instituted there until the 1660s. By 1712 the college was judged as good and perhaps better than Jesuit colleges in France and possessed the same standardized curriculum. There were five Latin classes, one each of rhetoric and humanity and three in grammar. Some history and geography were included in the grammar and rhetoric classes; science was taught along with philosophy, and the theories of Galileo, René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, and Sir Isaac Newton were explored in mathematics and physics. The course of study in letters at the College of Quebec usually took five years or more, and the science curriculum took three years. Students also studied drama and presented plays, including Le Cid in 1652 and Jean Racines Mithri-date in 1694. The College of Quebec, like other Jesuit colleges, did not award degrees, but students completing their studies regularly engaged in public disputation. Among those educated at the College of Quebec was Louis Jolliet, later famous for his explorations of the Mississippi River, who in 1666 argued his thesis in Latin before the leading figures of the province.

Early British Efforts. As early as 1622, plans were afoot and money had been collected in England for the founding of Henrico College in Virginia. The Indian uprising of that year and the subsequent takeover of the colony by the Crown in 1625 put an end to the project. The Puritans in New England were more successful in establishing colleges. In 1633 Reverend John Eliot called for the founding of a college in Massachusetts Bay. Eliot warned that if we norish not Larning both church & common wealth will sinke. In 1636 the provincial legislature agreed, allocating some £400, and college instruction began in Cambridge in 1638. That same year John Harvard, a preacher and recent immigrant, died and left £780 and his library of four hundred volumes to the college, which took his name. According to a promotional pamphlet published in 1642, the purpose of Harvard College was to advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust. Its charter of 1650 added another objective: the education of Indian youth. Money was collected in England for John Eliots missionary efforts among the Indians, and President Henry Dunster used some to pay for the building called the Indian College. However, few Indians ever attended Harvard, and only one, Caleb Cheeshahteaumuch, ever graduated. In fact, Harvard College, like the Puritan vision of a City Upon a Hill, had little to do with the Indians.

Harvard College: Structure. The Massachusetts Bay legislature put Harvard under the supervision of a board of overseers made up of local civil and ecclesiastical leaders. In 1650 the legislature granted Harvard a charter creating a corporation made up of the president and fellows and empowering it to grant degrees, which it had been doing without any official sanction since 1642. Thereafter, the overseers and corporation jointly governed Harvard. Its structure and curriculum were modeled after Emmanuel College, a fairly young foundation which had become a stronghold of Puritan influence at Cambridge University. Emmanuel and the other colleges at Cambridge and Oxford were rather small, including from twenty to fifty students, a president, two or three tutors, and a few servants. In 1638 Nathaniel Eaton, who had studied under the famed Puritan theologian William Ames, was appointed professor and charged with leading Harvard, which began with nine or ten students. After many complaints Ames was removed in late 1639 for mistreating the students. His successor, Henry Dunster, who had studied at Magdalene College, Oxford, served Harvard until 1655 as professor and president.

Curriculum. The three-year curriculum that Henry Dunster instituted at Harvard reflected four influences that were shaping higher learning in Europe: the seven liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music), taught from Latin texts; Aristotelian philosophy, rediscovered in the later Middle Ages and transmitted in classes on ethics, politics, physics, and metaphysics; humanistic learning from the Renaissance, emphasizing the Latin classics of Cicero and Virgil and knowledge of Greek and other eastern languages; and the Reformation ideal that liberal learning should be devoted to explaining the religious doctrines of the Puritan faith. Dunster initially conducted all the classes six days a week. In later years a tutor would be assigned an entering class and teach all the courses for that class as it moved through one sequence after another toward graduation. Dunsters successor, Charles Chauncy, who served from 1654 to 1672, added another year of study at the freshman level, which dropped the median age at entry to between fifteen or sixteen, the basic requirement for admission being a solid background in the Latin language.

William and Mary. The prime mover behind the establishment of the second college in British North America was the Reverend James Blair, commissary of the Church of England in Virginia. Appointed by the bishop of London to supervise ecclesiastical affairs in the tobacco colony, Blair had powerful friends in England who helped him secure a royal charter in 1693 and raise funds for the proposed college. According to its charter William and Mary was founded for three reasons: to train ministerial candidates for the Anglican ministry, to educate Virginia youth, and to convert the Indians. The latter objective may well have been disingenuous, calculated to capture a share of the scientist Robert Boyles estate dedicated to Christianizing the Indians. Some Indians did attend the college, now and again, but the Boyle legacy was used primarily for the Brafferton Building and library books. Under the 1693 charter William and Mary was governed by a self-perpetuating board of eighteen members; its president until 1743 was James Blair. The charter also called for the creation of four schools (sacred theology, philosophy, Greek and Latin, and Indian instruction) with six professors. After some fits and starts, William and Mary became fully functional in the 1720s and followed the design of the charter until after the American Revolution.


 1642-1658 1659-1677 1678-1689 1642-1689
*Governors, councilors, judges, deputies, and permanent officials.
**Died in college or within five years of graduating.
***Most of these individuals are nongraduates before 1663.
Source: Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience 1607-1783 (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), p. 221. I
I Physicians1211427
Public Servants131712
I Merchants36110
Soldiers, Mariners0145
I Miscellaneous2305
Died Young**1151127

Yale. In 1701 Harvard alumni became concerned that their alma mater had strayed from Puritan orthodoxy and wanted to found another college in southern New England. Fewer Harvard graduates were going into the ministry, and the proposed Connecticut college was expected to revive both piety and orthodoxy among New England youth. The new college was a modest affair at first, meeting in the home of its president, Abraham Pierson, for five years and moving among several towns for the next thirteen. By 1720 the college had built a permanent building at New Haven, taken the name of its most generous benefactor, Elihu Yale, a director of the East India Company, and had received the eight hundred volumes purchased by Connecticuts English agent, Jeremiah Dummer. The Dummer collection included books by John Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, René Descartes, Robert Boyle, John Milton, and more-recent writers, both clerical and lay. Despite its devotion to Puritan orthodoxy, Yale had a library that included the chief works of the European Enlightenment, and that library, especially the works of Locke and Newton, encouraged two young tutors, Samuel Johnson and Daniel Browne, to reject Congregational orthodoxy and turn to the Church of England in 1722. The apostasy scandal grew worse when

Yales rector, Timothy Cutler, like Browne and Johnson, was found guilty of Arminianism and prelatical corruptions. They were all summarily dismissed. However, the books remained, and others detailing rationalism and the scientific method would be added to the collection. Others, including conservative clerics such as Jonathan Edwards, read and had to come to terms with them.

Later Schools. After the establishment of Yale in 1701 demographic and economic expansion and shifting religious and intellectual currents brought forth the founding of six additional colleges in British North America. During the late 1730s and early 1740s the leadership of both Harvard and Yale opposed the revivalism of the Great Awakening. In response evangelical Presbyterians, breaking with the more conservative Synod of Pennsylvania and organizing the Synod of New York, founded the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1745. Its first president was the Reverend Jonathan Dickinson, followed by the Reverend Aaron Burr, a Yale graduate, during whose ten-year tenure the college became housed in the Nassau Building at Princeton. In Pennsylvania and New York civic pride and the mercantile spirit led to the founding of colleges. In Philadelphia Benjamin Franklin organized the movement that led to the Philadelphia Academy in 1753 and which became the College of Philadelphia two years later. After a decade of discussion and two years of intense controversy, Kings College (later Columbia University) was chartered in New York City in 1756. Under the presidency of the Reverend William Smith, the College of Philadelphia became identified with the Church of England. From the beginning, Anglican influence was dominant at Kings College, where Samuel Johnson, one of the 1722 Yale apostates, became the first president. Evangelicals were also behind three more colleges: in 1765 the Baptists founded the College of Rhode Island (later Brown University); the Dutch Reformed Church obtained a charter in 1766 from New Jersey for Queens College (later Rutgers University); and the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregational minister, founded Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1770.

Curriculum. Although Latin and Greek classics remained at its heart, the eighteenth century brought changes to the traditional college curriculum. Among the thousands of Scotch-Irish immigrants to America were graduates of Scottish universities, which were among the leading centers of Enlightenment learning. They also led in pedagogical reforms such as offering instruction in English instead of Latin, having professors specialize in just one discipline instead of teaching all subjects, and utilizing demonstration and modern methods in teaching the sciences. Some of these innovations were applied in British North America, first in the academies run by Presbyterian preachers and later in the evangelical colleges. Lockes writing on education and psychology, no less than Newtons insights into mathematics and physics, were influencing the curricula of colleges both old and new. Americans such as Benjamin Franklin campaigned aggressively for a more practical education in both academy and college. Franklins College of Philadelphia had perhaps the most modern curriculum of any American college, rivaled closely by Kings College in New York, where William Livingston and other opponents of an Anglican establishment argued for a nonsectarian institution of higher learning. Despite their Anglican leanings, neither the College of Philadelphia nor Kings College advertised itself as a divinity school. Instead each touted its broad plan of instruction, including the classical languages, grammar, rhetoric, logic, and mathematics as well as surveying, navigation, geography, history, husbandry, commerce, and government. Kings College claimed its curriculum offered everything useful for the comfort, the convenience and elegance of life, in the chief manufacturers relating to any of these things. Such extravagant claims aside, the college curriculum was becoming more secular, scientific, and concerned with nurturing leaders in the professions.


James Axtell, The School upon a Hill: Education and Society in Colonial New England (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1974);

Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607-1783 (New York: Harper & Row, 1970);

Mario Gongora, Studies in the Colonial History of Spanish America, translated by Richard Southern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975);

Jurgen Herbst, The First Three American Colleges: Schools of the Reformation, Perspectives in American History,8 (1974): 7-52;

David C. Humphrey, From Kings College to Columbia, 1746-1800 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976);

Howard Miller, The Revolutionary College: American Presbyterian Higher Education: 1707-1837 (New York: New York University Press, 1976);

Samuel E. Morison, The Founding of Harvard College (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1935);

David W. Robson, Educating Republicans: The College in the Era of the American Revolution, 1750-1800 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985);

Douglas Sloan, The Scottish Enlightenment and the American College Ideal (New York: Teachers College Press of Columbia University, 1971);

Thomas J. Wertenbaker, Princeton, 1746-1896 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1946).

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colleges and universities

colleges and universities, institutions of higher education. Universities differ from colleges in that they are larger, have wider curricula, are involved in research activities, and grant graduate and professional as well as undergraduate degrees.


Early History

Universities generally consist of groups of schools, faculties, or colleges. They arose in the 12th and 13th cent. in Europe as a means of providing further training in the professions of law, theology, and medicine, and as centers of study for the rediscovered works of Aristotle and the Arab scholars. Of the earliest universities, Salerno (9th cent.) and Montpellier (13th cent.) specialized in medicine; Bologna (1088) in law; and Paris (12th cent.) in theology. Students and faculty were originally organized in guildlike groups. The student groups, known as "nations" and comprising students from particular localities, gradually diminished in power, however, as the faculty, which controlled both teaching and graduation requirements, became more powerful.

In the Middle Ages, universities were usually begun through royal or ecclesiastical initiative or through migrations of students from other universities. The migrations were sometimes influenced by political events. The Univ. of Oxford, for example, was founded (12th cent.) by English students from the Univ. of Paris who were forced to leave that institution as a result of conflicts between England and France; similarly, the university at Leipzig was founded (15th cent.) by German scholars who were driven out of Prague by John Huss's Czech national movement. Medieval universities often had many thousands of students and played an important role in public affairs. Among the famous institutions founded were Salamanca (c.1230), Prague (1348), Vienna (1365), Uppsala (1477), Leiden (1575), and Moscow (1755). The oldest universities in the New World, both founded in 1551, are Mexico Univ. and San Marcos of Lima.

Nineteenth Century

In the 19th cent. many governments reorganized and nationalized universities, as in Italy after unification (1870), in Spain (1876), and in France, where 17 autonomous regional universities were established after 1876. By 1900 many universities were secularized in administration and curriculum, and religious tests had been largely eliminated (in England by act of Parliament in 1871). Through the centuries, the majority of women were educated in separate institutions; however, since 1870 the benefits of coeducation have impelled nearly all universities to admit both sexes.

In the United States, modern universities developed during the late 19th cent. from the expansion of private colleges and the establishment of state tax-supported universities. Largely as a result of the Morrill Act (1862), public lands were granted to the states for the formation and support of state agricultural and mechanical schools (see land-grant colleges and universities). Another important influence at that time was the founding of institutions (e.g., Johns Hopkins Univ.) devoted to graduate study and research. They were modeled on the German universities, with their separate graduate and professional schools each devoted to a particular area of study.

Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

Since the early 20th cent. universities have played an increasingly important role in scientific and technical research, largely as a result of social and governmental demands for these services. The nationalization and bureaucratization of research functions has been especially marked in the United States, where various government agencies dispense large amounts of money to both public and private universities for research purposes. The federal government also provides direct aid to various categories of students, such as veterans and disadvantaged students.

Since World War II there has been worldwide proliferation of new universities, expansion of old ones, and merging of small institutions into larger university systems. As former colonies gained independence during the 1960s and 1970s, each struggled to define its specific educational needs and establish a university system. In Africa, for example, universities were established in Ghana and Nigeria in 1948, in the Côte d'Ivoire in 1959, and in Congo (Kinshasa) in 1971.

Further proliferation has occurred as a result of the desire for political equality. Educational reforms in Japan, for example, have decreed that there must be at least one national university in each of 47 sections of the country, so that there are now more than 80 such institutions. Similar pressures operated in Great Britain, where seven new universities were established in the 1960s alone, and in the United States, where the State Univ. of New York grew from a small group of teacher training colleges in 1948 to a multicampus system with some 460,000 students in 2010.

The development of radio and television led to their use as an alternative means of instruction, but the broadcasting of university courses was generally not significant except in a few cases (see Open Univ.). The rise of the Internet has led to the development of online instruction, one result of which has been the rise of educational institutions that teach most or all of their classes online. The development of universities (and colleges) the operate largely online has also contributed to an increase in the United States of the number of institutions that are run on a for-profit basis. Many universities now use various combinations of online and classroom instruction depending on the course being taught; videos of classroom sessions are often posted on a university website for the benefit of students. So-called massive open online courses are designed to be available to anyone with a suitable Internet connection, and can reach beyond the walls of the classroom to enroll tens of thousands of students in a single class.


Early Years to 1900

Like universities, colleges first appeared in the Middle Ages; the earliest were founded in 12th-century Paris. Originally the college served as an endowed residence hall for university scholars, but later it absorbed much of the university's activity. It was in England, at Oxford and Cambridge, that the college became the principal center of learning, with the university serving mainly to examine candidates and confer degrees.

The Industrial Revolution brought a demand for scientific and technical education, and separate technical colleges (e.g., Yorkshire Science College in Leeds) were founded. Moreover, extension lectures, sponsored by the universities, created a demand for educational centers in remote areas. Degrees, however, continued to be conferred by the universities with which the colleges were affiliated.

It was in America that the liberal arts college first appeared extensively as a separate institution. In the 17th and early 18th cent., numerous colleges were established in the colonies, primarily to train young men for the ministry. Notable were Harvard (1636; Puritan), William and Mary (1693; Anglican), Yale (1701; Congregationalist), Princeton (1746; New Lights Presbyterian), Columbia (1754; Anglican), Brown (1765; Baptist), and Rutgers (1766; Dutch Reformed).

During the 19th cent. a number of women's colleges were founded. Notable early women's colleges were Mt. Holyoke (1837), Elmira (1853), Vassar (1861), Wellesley (1871), Smith (1871), and Bryn Mawr (1881). Another development of the 19th cent. was the growth of normal schools, which later became teachers colleges (see teacher training). Though the curricula and ideals of American colleges continued to be influenced by English schools, many American colleges, stimulated by the German university system and by the increasing demand for technical instruction, began to expand their facilities to include graduate and professional schools. In the 21st cent., colleges have been affected more dramatically than universities by the rise of online education and the increase in for-profit educational institutions. By 2010, a tenth of all students attending college full-time were enrolled in a for-profit school.

Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

By the 20th cent. many American colleges had become universities, and by the middle of the century universities were giving out twice as many bachelor's degrees as were the traditional liberal arts colleges. In an attempt to reassert the importance of the colleges, many of them have been empowered to grant graduate degrees, especially the master's degree. Since the 1960s, the community college movement has been most important in expanding opportunities for higher education. By allowing students to live at home, operating with more flexible schedules, focusing on technical curricula, and adopting policies of open enrollment, the community colleges have made college training available to a larger segment of high-school graduates. Still another development has been the establishment of cluster colleges, such as the Univ. of California at Santa Cruz (est. 1965), which provide the personalized education that is characteristic of the small college without sacrificing the quality and diversity of the university.


See T. Veblen, Higher Learning in America (1918, repr. 1965); D. G. Tewksbury, The Founding of American Colleges and Universities before the Civil War (1932, repr. 1969); H. Rashdall, Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (3 vol., 1936; repr. 1987); L. R. Veysey, The Emergence of the American University (1965); M. Beloff, The Plateglass Universities (1975); F. K. Ringer, Education and Society in Modern Europe (1979); A. W. Chickering et al., The Modern American College (1981); B. R. Clark, The Higher Education System (1983); C. Kerr, The Uses of the University (3d ed. 1983); W. Rudy, The Universities of Europe (1984); T. Bender, ed., The University and the City (1989); S. Brint and J. Karabel, The Diverted Dream (1989); H. Rosovsky, The University (1991); J. Pelikan, The Idea of the University—A Reexamination (1992); D. Kennedy, Academic Duty (1998); M. C. Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity (1998); J. V. Lombardi, How Universities Work (2013). See also A. S. Knowles, ed., The International Encyclopedia of Higher Education (10 vol., 1977).

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col·lege / ˈkälij/ • n. 1. an educational institution or establishment, in particular: ∎  one providing higher education or specialized professional or vocational training. ∎  (within a university) a school offering a general liberal arts curriculum leading only to a bachelor's degree. ∎  (in Britain) any of a number of independent institutions within certain universities, each having its own teaching staff, students, and buildings. ∎ Brit. a private secondary school: [in names] Eton College. ∎  the teaching staff and students of a college considered collectively. ∎  the buildings and campus of a college. 2. an organized group of professional people with particular aims, duties, and privileges: [in names] the electoral college.

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a body of colleagues or students; a collective body of a profession or religious order; a society of students or scholars. See also academy, institute.

Examples: college of bees, 1790; of canons; of cardinals; of clergy; of courtesans, 1621; of executioners, 1655; of hand-maidens, 1430; of heralds; of paradise, 1502; of scholars; of undergraduates.

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college society or corporation of persons having common functions and rights; building occupied by this. XIV. — (O) F. collège or its source L. collēgium association, partnership, corporation, f. collēga COLLEAGUE.
So collegial XIV, collegian XV, collegiate (-ATE 2) XV.

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collegeabridge, bridge, fridge, frig, midge, ridge •quayage • verbiage • foliage • lineage •ferriage •stowage, towage •buoyage, voyage •sewage •Babbage, cabbage •garbage • cribbage •Burbage, herbage •adage • bandage • yardage • headage •appendage • windage • bondage •vagabondage • cordage • poundage •wordage • staffage • roughage •baggage • mortgage • luggage •package, trackage •tankage • wreckage • breakage •leakage •linkage, shrinkage, sinkage •blockage, dockage, lockage •boscage • corkage • soakage •truckage • tallage • assemblage •railage •grillage, pillage, spillage, stillage, tillage, village •pupillage (US pupilage) • sacrilege •ensilage • mucilage • cartilage •sortilege • tutelage • curtilage •privilege •mileage, silage •acknowledge, college, foreknowledge, knowledge •haulage, stallage •spoilage • Coolidge

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