For decades, nay centuries, America's elite universities have produced some of the brightest minds and most influential citizens. And even those Ivy League graduates whose names did not end up in history books could count on one coveted benefit of higher education: landing a good job.
But now even that might be changing, according to a hiring manager for a popular magazine.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal on Monday, R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, a well-known religious public policy magazine, explained he has largely stopped hiring graduates from Ivy League schools because they're either too "woke," too "self-important," or have been trained to stay silent when it matters.
"A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much," Reno began before elucidating his point with a story about a student strike that took place last year at his alma mater, Haverford College, a place he described as similar to Harvard.
He recalled that concerns over "antiblackness" and the "erasure of marginalized voices" culminated in an all-college Zoom meeting that accomplished little besides outing the "thin-skinned narcissism and naked aggression" of many of the students — qualities that do not make for effective employees. On the flip side, he argued, for every outspoken student activist, there are many more who refuse to speak up when it counts:
If students can be traumatized by "insensitivity" on that leafy campus, then they're unlikely to function as effective team members in an organization that has to deal with everyday realities. And in any event, I don't want to hire someone who makes inflammatory accusations at the drop of a hat.
Student activists don't represent the majority of students. But I find myself wondering about the silent acquiescence of most students. They allow themselves to be cowed by charges of racism and other sins. I sympathize. The atmosphere of intimidation in elite higher education is intense. But I don't want to hire a person well-practiced in remaining silent when it costs something to speak up.
Reno compared the hostile environment at many elite college campuses to the "dhimmitude" of many Christians and Jews living in Muslim societies, or the "mentality of those who have internalized their second-class status."
Yet the students who counter and repel the environment have their issues, too, according to Reno:
Some resist. They would seem ideal for my organization, which aims to speak for religious and social conservatives. But even this kind of graduate brings liabilities to the workplace. I've met recent Ivy grads with conservative convictions who manifest a form of posttraumatic stress disorder. Others have developed a habit of aggressive counterpunching that is no more appealing in a young employee than the ruthless accusations of the woke.
As an overarching theme, students educated at Ivy League-type schools have been "socialized to panic over pseudocrises," he lamented. They navel-gaze about "diversity," "inclusion," and other abstract ideas rather than put their nose to the grind on real work.
Reno says he now seeks graduates from smaller, lesser-known — though more dependable — private institutions or from larger state universities or their satellite schools.
The underlying problem for Ivy League students, he suggests, is more than likely a deficit of good role models. Notwithstanding, the result certainly appears to be unproductive employees.