tv [untitled] CSPAN June 15, 2009 6:30am-7:00am EDT
to understand why he did that is to understand what it is that you would sacrifice everything for, because better to suffer whatever modern war can do to you than to join in the policy of that man. so i started figuring that out when i was writing my thesis. >> claire mount institute set up right after you got your ph. d? >>it was started while i was over there. tom silver was the main one. he is dead now, and my wife and i are raising his kid. we were very close. one of them is married to my sister. we started this thing. we were graduate students. we planned it. we were really dumb, and we did not know you cannot do it. i believe you may have started all this, mr. lamb. if you did, good for you. we were the same kind of thing, except maybe dumber.
we would dine under the stars in a graduate student apartment and dream about these things. they got it started, and then i came back in august of 1980. they gave me a job. i joined the staff. in 1985 became the president, for various reasons that they thought i could. so i did that for 15 years and made a go of it. in 2000, after the 1999 thing you mentioned, i've got to talking to hillsdale college. i am running on now, but i did not want to -- the idea got out that i could be a college president. i very much did not want to be, because most of my friends were faculty members. what do they think about college presidents? when the job came open, i was
not interested. step by step, bill buckley recommended me to the search committee. the search committee was headed by bill broadback. he is chairman of the board now, a very close friend of mine. he kept calling. at first i was getting messages that they wanted to talk to me. i kept getting messages and why would you do that? then i read this whole document of the college and talked to bill and found him to be a spectacular man. this old document of the college it is very beautiful. you can find it on our website. i began to think, oh, i see. what you might want to do is try to run the college out of that. it would be the law. you would obey it. the board would obey it.
we managed the college that way. i tried to make it hard to have an argument with me. i want people to have an argument with it. if they do not want to argue that, there is no reason to argue at all. >> recently announced a washington program run by virginia thomas. >> yeah. >> tell us about that. >> virginia thomas is an old friend of mine. she is a friend of mine of long standing, she is not that old. she is married to clarence thomas, and he is a man i admire very greatly and have known since before he was known to many other people. i think highly of him and very highly of her. i have had this idea for a long time, since the beginning of the claremount institute days that there are things you should know to call yourself a leader in america. you can find those things in correspondence between jefferson and madison, for example, who laid out a curriculum. people do not know those things very much anymore. another thing that is going on
that i think requires explanation. we think the declaration of independence is the first step in a development, and so is the constitution. they are good, they are great, but they all -- the signal virtue they have is that they allow for this development. and so they live. the trouble is that things can be done in their name that are obvious abnegations of what they mean. the trouble with that argument is that it cannot be true in one specific respect. it was not the opinion of those people who wrote the documents, nor what they said, that they are other and final and complete statements of the general truth of the matter. the trouble is you can centralize the government way
beyond what the constitutional authors imagined. you can write 400 or 500 pages about how to run a small liberal arts college. it would be a miserable place if it had that many. no body would know what they said. you can do all that, but at some point, the structure itself will have to alter, is altering in some respects. the justification for that structure was written by james madison. in the 51st federalist. he says, what is government-backed but the profound reflections on human nature. if men were angels, no government would be needed. if angels were to govern men, neither internal or external controls on the government would be necessary. so the point is, we have to reflect on that today. we are not angels. that is why we require to be governed. angels do not govern us.
that is why they must live within limits. the point is, the first step, in my opinion, is not just to shout that that is so. the first step is to invite people to read and to think. that is what we do. >> we found on youtube one of the young students at hillsdale. his name is jared halsey. do you know him? >> yes. i think he has graduated now. a red headed boy. i did not know his name until i watched the video. i had information that you were going to show it to me. he is a good kid. >> this is just a student with a camcorder showing the school. we're going to run little bits of it and get you to describe what you are hearing from him.
>> welcome to hillsdale college. the center for education, educating for liberty since 1844. we are standing here in freezing cold hillsdale, michigan in front of central hall, the original building which was built in 1844. over to my left, this is kendall hall, one of the main academic buildings for most of the classes are held. to my right, this is lane. that is where all my terrible classes, i mean all of my wonderful classes, are held. in the middle of this courtyard here is a statue of a union soldier holding a flag, of course. this comes from the civil war, or the war of northern aggression as we know it. hillsdale college sent more officers to the civil war than any other school in the country except for west point military academy.
>> what did he mean by war of northern aggression? as we know it? we, hillsdale? >> i think jared is from texas. i am from arkansas. the college very much celebrates its connection to the civil war and to the union army. he was making fun of that fact. he is a college student. he is a good kid. he is a fine young man, but it is not being sold on the campus. >> whenever you go on college campuses like you did on hillsdale, lane and kendall halls and all that, those are people. why do people want their names on these buildings? >> harry kendall -- the big building in the foreground, central hall, is old. that was first built and dedicated on the fourth of july, 1854. kendall on the left and lane on
the right are new. those are 3 years old. henry kendall and margaret reid, they just passed away in the 1990's. they gave us $4 million. bob lane, from jackson hole, wyoming, loved hillsdale college. he gave us $4 million or $5 million. the college is a cause. you have to state that cause carefully, because the college is a unique and very odd thing. the college is trying to be what it was 150 years ago, but the world has changed a lot. 150 years ago, everybody ran the way we ran. now everybody runs with very significant rev lewis in the government. >> here is another clip. look at one of the classrooms.
>> welcome to lane. we're in lane hall right now. i just wanted to give you a quick tour of a classroom. it is quite a bit different than your standard a&m size classroom. it seats about 20 or so people that is a normal size classroom. in my freshman english class we have now since several people have dropped out, we have 11 students. freshman english 101, required for everybody. it is crazy. i'll tell you what. >> what does he mean by crazy? >> first of all, i am interpreting jared's mind, so who knows what he means by any of this. i think what it is like, i can tell you that, is it is a 10 to one student to teacher ratio. the faculty or teachers.
they teach three courses a term. everybody has to take two semesters of english. they read the same stuff. everybody has to take two semesters of history. they read the same stuff. it is almost all original source materials. everybody has to take a full semester course on the constitution of the united states. if you get a ba, you have to take a language. everybody has to take two or three courses of natural sciences. the core curriculum takes up about half the time. the core curriculum is probably going to be reformed so it becomes bigger. >> a recent statistic i saw, something like only 53% of people who enter college get out within six years. what is the graduation rate at your place? >> i only have the four-year graduation rate. i have just been looking at up, because i saw that study that you saw. our four-year rate is about 70%.
here is the way that works. i do not know what our six-year rate is. it will be higher than that. our retention rates, the measure of how many freshmen, those have improved from 75 to 93. our graduation rate should be going up, but right now the four-year rate is 70%. >> what kind of rate is indeed what kind of name is arnn? >> it is of german extraction. possibly it was aaron. i have a great aunt who studies this stuff. if it was, then we are early jews. if it was arnn, we are middle of the 19th century immigrants. >> this is about the construction going on. >> this is called the quad. that really meant there were four buildings surrounding it,
central hall, and across the lawn, this is going to be turned into construction. they have massive buildings going up. it has been vacant for a long time. to my right is the mossy library. the new building -- that is our new student union. >> money from someone named mossy? >> don mossy. chairman of the board. member of the board for 30 years. >> huge buildings, massive construction. >> jared is not fully accurate. it we do not actually plan any more new buildings in that area. unless somebody hasn't told me something, which is unlikely. we have built seven or eight new buildings in the last eight years and i'm happy to report those are paid for.
there are two classroom buildings, a music, practice, and rehearsal facility, a new dormitory, a new science building addition. we try to build them, you'll notice from the architecture, we try to build them so they look like a central hall, and have a vertical theme, because we think in colleges, things should point up. >> there is an interesting piece in "the new york times" about an honor code developed by some people at harvard. masters of business administration at harvard, a bunch of students, clearly upset with what is going on in the world, decided to take an oath. you can find it on the internet. there are 585 students around the country who signed this.
close to 200 at harvard have signed up for this. i am going to ask you why you think this is necessary. i will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner. i will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers and the society. guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves. i will and uphold. i will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contributes to the well-being of
society. i will strive to create economic and social environmental pros parity worldwide and i will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me by living by this oath. why do we need this? >> that is lovely. we need beautiful things. that is a very fine thing. if you are saying people should just do that naturally without having to do such a thing, well, the answer is, human beings are the odd creature that can do wrong if they please. they have a choice about the matter, and so things that remind them and commit them to do better things are good. >> you have an honor code, and i will read it. >> hillsdale college student is honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service and respectful of the rights of others. through education, the student rises to self-government. how long has that been around?
>> just about five years. it is a resurrection of something not dissimilar from the 19th century. >> why was it necessary five years ago? >> i have learned a lot working in a college, and there is something i did not know. in my opinion, it is a fundamental thing. it is central. you don't really teach them. they learn. their efforts are crucial. they need to know what you are after. the word college actually means partnership. something for a bunch of people to do together. and so, i found, i like the students. i spend a lot of time around them. i teach every term. i eat in the dining hall and hang around. i found that a lot of them were cranky with us when they got there. why? nobody told me, and this is not what i want. i have been injured by that, they thought. kids are -- people in the 18-21
year range, they can do anything we can do, they just never did it before. their biological urge, the thing is, they have to grow up. you are putting rules on them, you are at war with something very central, so they have to adopt it for themselves. our honor code is our way of formalizing that adoption and making sure they understand and that we understand what we are both going to go about. that way, -- and like i said, our retention rate has risen a lot. that has something to do with it. >> there is another strange harvard connection from an article by the chief speechwriter for george w. bush. this is from june 2 of this year. the title on it is "how hillsdale beats harvard." here is a paragraph. the operative principle defining
harvard's relationship to the militaryry is the university's nondiscrimination policy. specifically harvard reese discrimination based on sexual orientation. so the reserve officer training core remains banned from harvard's campus. military recruiters are grudgingly permitted only because of the solomon amendment. now you also don't have rotc on campus. >> right. >> what is the similarity here? >> we do not have it, because we would love to have it -- you cannot have it without this title iv of the higher education act. the reason we do not have it is because we do not want all that mess. we regret that in regard to the military and the g.i. bill and all that stuff. that is why we do not have
it. the article goes on to say that we produce a lot of kids for the military. i think right now, there might be -- i heard this yesterday one of our boys, and jack shannon, was commissioned on graduation day. he is a student of mine and i know him well. he reports back to quantico this week. so we have a lot. we have always had a lot go. it was mentioned in the video, we had a great contribution to the civil war. some really lovely things were done by hillsdale college students in that war, all for the union army. >> but you will allow recruiters? >> yes, there are very welcome. he quotes in the article, bill's father was a marine. at lunch one day -- i took him to lunch at the dining hall, and we were sitting around. he asked about the military on campus. i told him there was a lot of it, and we do not have rotc.
we went upstairs and recruiters were there in the student union. he got quotes from that article on that day. that's how it happened. you know, there has always been a lot of military service at hillsdale. we don't teach, we never did have military training as any kind of discipline or course at the college, but the college seeks to inspire a love of the principles and the constitution of the united states of america. that drives young men and women to want to go and serve. >> what do you think the difference is between getting an education at harvard and getting an education and hillsdale? >> of course they are really good at many very important things. at hillsdale, forget them. why do i want to make invidious distinctions?
i'll tell you what we do. we think liberal education is a thing that exists because of the hierarchy of ends that are apparent, and every human life must live within those in spirit to study those best is to study with in a small setting with other devoted people the great literature devoted to those, which expands across 3000 years in the west. in the east, there is doubtless a similar thing. >> you started out as an institution that was for the abolition of slavery. >> very much. >> and for anyone coming to your institution, how're you doing today with minorities? >> we do not have a lot, but we do not count, so i cannot tell you how many. >> why don't you count? >> because we never have. it doesn't matter. it has nothing to do with your ability to learn. frederick douglass was a speaker
on our campus. in january of 1863. one of the most famous photographs of him was taken on our campus. his principle was, to paraphrase, you ask what should be done for the freed man? i say nothing at all. if he cannot stand up, let him fall down, then he will learn to stand. after all, he is been getting so much more of your pity than he has of your justice. our principle is, and i say this to every kid in america, it is easy to find out what we do, stated in that honor code. it does not matter what color you are. you want to do that thing, and we might be the right place for you. >> we have one more clip from youtube. he takes us on a little tour of his dorm room. >> here is our freshly opened door, as we walk into the room. that is david's den.
he is very neat and tidy, as you can see. he has his chair and his desk and his bed. i do not need to explain that to you. this is a shelf complete with many dvd is of my own. here is my bed, or couch. it is converted into a couch during the day. most days, i make my bed. it is a bed all the other time. red, white, and blue obviously is the motif we are going for here. here is our lovely hillsdale chargers flag which i have displayed prominently. here is my desk. >> no question that it is a conservative room. a conservative fellow. a lot of the speakers to come to you are conservative.
any concern or do you get around that you are only getting one point of view? you get the democratic party, liberal and the new tradition, point of view at your school? >> of course we do, in a variety of ways. we have the college democrats. i think there is a kid interning at greenpeace from our college this summer. there are kids like that, of course there are. we do not ask any questions about that. if a prospective student says i am not a conservative, does that matter? or if they say i'm a conservative, can i come to your college? i always say, you are too young to know about that. that is not the thing. the thing is, what are you, and why? when i was 18 years old, i was full of myself, and i knew a lot. i then encountered one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. my world was turned upside down. that is not the last time that ever happened to me.
we are trying to train liberally educated people. that means the vast majority of what we teach every student, and half of what we teach, we teach every student. the vast majority of it was written before there was a united states of america, much less a moderate, conservative movement. if you are doing that, if you are thinking that all things might have a value of abiding nature because the real value is objective and eternal, that gives you a disposition about modern liberalism and conservatism. that's conservative we have on campus. that's the source of it. >> you have a lot of speakers of both on campus and anti-washington program. how often do you have the friday morning breakfast? >> once a month. >> do you have to pay for those people doing that, or did they do it gratis? >> a lot do it gratis and a lot get paid. it varies.
in general, if they are talking to students we don't pay them or we don't pay them a lot. off-campus speaker sometimes command fees, and we pay them. when martin gilbert comes to teach a course, he is a distinguished fellow and he has a salary for that. he wants to focus on getting the churchill biography finished, so we have deployed some of his salary away from paying him to teach to paying his expenses for publishing the churchill biography. people make money when they speak, and we pay them sometimes. for the kids, not usually very much. >> we are about out of time. what is your biggest concern about your future at the school? >> the college is a very old thing in a very competitive market, with 2000 competitors. most of them are not financed the way we are and most of them do not do what we do anymore. although any of the old ones used to do it. the trends are away from us.
how can we possibly survive? the answer is, so far, so good, and it is in the hands of god. >> dr. larry arnn, president of hillsdale college in hillsdale, michigan. thank you, sir. national captioning institute] cable satellite corp. 2009] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call the number shown. for a free transcript, or to give us your comments about this program, visit us online. q & a programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> next week on q & a the first in a two-part series on a new