Southern New Hampshire University is one of the burgeoning online universities that promises faster and cheaper degrees than the traditional colleges. While there are considerable questions raised over content of these courses and the value of the degrees, SNHU insists that it is reaching a population that would not otherwise be able to attain degrees. Ashley Arnold, 27, however, had to educate her professor that Australia is not just a continent but also a country. Update: SNHU has fired the professor. This type of story is particularly harmful for online universities given their perception as diploma mills.
The University of Washington has been sued by the schools College Republicans after it demanded the payment of $17,000 in security fees for the planned speech of Oregon activist Joey Gibson of the Patriot Prayer group. The lawsuit raises an important free speech question in whether schools can effectively bar conservative speakers by insisting that free speech is not free in a financial sense. The imposition of prohibitive costs on groups like the College Republicans is facially neutral but potentially discriminatory in practice based on the content of speech. It also creates a system that indirectly supports “the heckler’s veto.”