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Victor Davis Hanson: The Sickness Of Our Universities… And The Cure

Victor Davis Hanson: The Sickness Of Our Universities… And The Cure

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

The sheer madness…



Victor Davis Hanson: The Sickness Of Our Universities... And The Cure

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

The sheer madness that has gripped many elite universities since October 7 and the butchery, rape, torture, and mutilation of some 1,000 Israeli civilians by Hamas murderers have shocked the public at large.

Campus craziness is, of course, nothing new. But quite novel for campuses was the sudden jettisoning of prior campus pretenses. Universities have brazenly dropped their careful two-faced gymnastics to reveal at last–unapologetically, proudly, and defiantly–the moral decay that now characterizes American higher education.

Recent news stories have exposed this rot to the world, and will have grave repercussions for higher education in the next few years.

The Nazis once desecrated the tombstones of dead Jews.

Our campuses have updated that hatred.

Students now tear down pictures of Jewish captives kidnapped or murdered by Hamas. University presidents do not condemn the hate-filled rallies supporting the killing of Jews in Israel, even though, according to their own safety-first ideology and prior proclamations about systemic hatred, these rallies instill a “climate of fear” in some students.

An instructor at Stanford separated Jewish students from their belongings, ordered them to stand in the corner, boasted about denying the Holocaust, and singled them out for unhinged rantings. Screaming campus activists and professors openly support Hamas even after its brutal killing of hundreds of Israeli women, children, and infants. That for more than two weeks thousands of rockets—barrages initially designed to enhance the surprise mass murdering of October 7—daily continue to shower down upon Israeli cities is of zero concern to loud campus activists.

An even bolder Cornell history faculty member bragged that he was “exhilarated” on news that Jews were butchered on October 7. A UC Davis professor threatened to go after the children of “Zionist journalists.” “Savages”, “excrement” and “pigs” are the adjective and nouns one professor at the Art Institute of Chicago posted to describe Israelis.

At rallies and protests, hundreds shout about eliminating Israel altogether; students, faculty, and throngs in general occasionally wear masks or wrap their faces in keffiyehs, as if conceding that most would find anyone identifiably mouthing such advocacy despicable. In some sense, such campus haters have become the equivalent of anti-Semitic sheet-wearing Klansmen.

There was plenty of prior evidence to predict the hate-filled, bigoted, campus reaction to the mass murder of hundreds of Jews inside Israel. The ideology of “decolonization” that today condemns Israel, and the West generally, has had many equally rancid predecessors.

Racially segregated housing reappeared years ago as “theme houses.” Effectively segregated, no-go areas are euphemistically known as “multi-cultural rooms.” Any critics who have objected to such institutionalized racism, in Orwellian fashion, have been smeared as racists.

Events that are off-limits to particular races on campus—like separate but equal graduation ceremonies or campus activities—are heralded as “celebrating diversity.”

Joseph-McCarthy-era “loyalty oaths” have returned to campus under the woke veneer of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statements.” Refuse to issue such a personal manifesto—and one will suffer career consequences.

Unpopular or unwelcome questioning of left-wing university orthodoxy is libeled as “hate speech.” Dissenting views are officially censored, slandered and suppressed as “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

Face unproven allegations of “inappropriate behavior” and one can expect to lose one’s 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights in any star-chamber university inquiry.

Admissions to universities, along with faculty hiring, retention, and tenure, are predicated on racial preferences and de facto quotas.

Even before the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, universities had already galvanized to implement ways to ignore its anticipated ruling—in good Confederate nullification style.

The old notion of “disparate impact” and “proportional representation” that set hiring and admission quota on the basis of racial demographics have given way to a sort of “reparatory” admissions—in which whites, regardless of grades and test scores, are collectively to be admitted and hired in far smaller numbers than found in the general population, and certain non-white groups, particularly East and South Asians, are actively discriminated against.

The old Enlightenment notion of not stereotyping entire groups as a faceless collective, and instead seeing persons as diverse and unique individuals, has given way to sloppy sloganeering like “white privilege,” “white supremacy” and “white rage.” Campuses apparently believe that a working class mechanic in Fresno County or a minimum wage tractor driver in Dayton, Ohio enjoys more power and privilege than Oprah Winfrey or Ibrahim Kendi.

For the last few decades, the public has been willing to put up with all this madness in higher education—even as political correctness squashed free speech on campus and affirmative action descended into woke racial essentialism.


One: universities assured America that their preeminent math, science, technology, and engineering departments—along with their professional medical and business schools—remained largely apolitical, research-orientated, and meritocratic.

Those departmental commitments to excellence without political interference had in the past always ensured American dominance in global research and development.

Two: the bachelor’s degree was once acknowledged as solid proof of a general education.

Graduation from college once supposedly certified that a citizen entered the work force with historical literacy, as well as enriched by philosophy, literature, and art.

Graduates also then purportedly understood our Constitution and civic life. They were assumed to have basic computational skills, as well as being versed in inductive reasoning and in analytical reading, writing, and speaking ability.

In other words, millions of college graduates were to share common skill sets— and that reality would help to ensure a complex and moral American democracy.

Unfortunately, neither of these two arguments for widespread college enrollment is any longer true. It is unnecessary to rehearse the sad decline of the humanities and the associated general civic education courses at today’s universities. Everyone is by now familiar with the multitude of “grievance studies” courses, therapeutic studies classes, and social activist degrees that have largely replaced conventional history and literature programs. Tragically, the rot has also spread to the sciences.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was systemic, campus-led censorship of dissenting scientific views, witch hunts of distinguished health care professionals, and de facto suppression of open scientific debate over the safety and efficacy of vaccines and the cost-benefit value of the lockdowns.

Medical-school doctors were demonized if they argued that there was scientific support for augmenting COVID-19 treatment with existing cheap, off-label pharmaceuticals, and even vitamin and supplement regimens. Authors of scientifically-based arguments that the origins of the COVID-19 virus was to be found at the Wuhan virology lab in China were demonized and their conclusions smeared rather than refuted.

In addition, any university-related scientific dialogue over the degree of and remedy for man-made, fossil-fuel-induced climate change must adhere to strict orthodoxies. Any apostates will risk having their careers curtailed and endangered.

It is also perilous for researchers, doctors, and public-health experts on campuses to question the recent dogma that sex is entirely socially constructed rather than biologically determined.

The university-trained computer minds that fuel Silicon Valley’s high tech industry have weaponized their Internet search results to prioritize links deemed socially and politically preferable.

University graduates are also past masters at Internet shadow-banning, doxxing, blacklisting, and canceling any person, institution, or idea that is felt to be detrimental to or at odds with the progressive agenda.

As for business, law, and medical schools–they now transfer much of their finite resources away from honing professional skills to ideological indoctrination in supposed diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As a result, universities have lost their century-long credibility as guardians of free and open scientific inquiry. Any contemporary university scientist who followed a renegade devotion to disinterested science–as embodied by Democritus, Galileo, or Copernicus–would encounter the same premodern character assassination, groupthink opposition, and efforts to destroy his career.

In sum, if exorbitantly priced higher education can no longer produce either a class of broadly educated citizens, or an empirically-trained and elite scientific, professional, and technological class, then why would Americans any longer put up with universities’ unapologetic indoctrination—a sort of interference with the university’s mission so reminiscent of the disastrous Russian commissar system that had nearly destroyed the Red Army at the outset of World War II?

Reform will only come through curtailing the government handouts that fuel multibillion dollar university endowments. Such unprecedented affluence ensures lavish campus budgets that in turn subsidize racist, anti-Semitic, and McCarthyite policies and institutions.

Just tax the income from the roughly $1 trillion of America’s tax exempt university endowments and perhaps there would not be quite enough money for courses on cartoons, cross-dressing, and BLM, much less for thousands of DEI commissars and censors.

Stop federal funds to any university that refuses to ensure Bill-of-Rights protections for its students.

If the SAT and ACT are increasingly dropped for admissions to universities, then an exit version of them should be required to ensure that all BA and BS degrees certify at least a minimum competence in math, science, and general knowledge.

Get the government out of the $1.8 trillion student loan business—and perhaps campuses would understand the concept of moral hazard. Only then would they monitor carefully extraneous expenditures and begin graduating students in four years—with the skills that employers so desperately need and the knowledge that a democracy relies upon.

If thousands of big donors who give billions of dollars to Ivy League and other tony universities were to “just say no,” then perhaps grasping deans, provosts, and presidents would begin to wonder whether they could fund any more rock climbing walls, latte bars, DEI czars, drag shows—and hate-Israel courses and student organizations.

In short, colleges are now a bad deal—far too costly, too political, and too incompetent in fulfilling their mission to the country.

They no longer can deliver on what they were created for, and they simply will not stop fueling things that are not just unnecessary, but downright injurious to the country, scary, and destructive.

Who wishes to continue with all that?

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/23/2023 - 17:00

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide…



Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, some elite colleges and universities shredded testing requirements for admission. Several years later, the test-optional admission has yet to produce the promising results for racial and class-based equity that many woke academic institutions wished.

The failure of test-optional admission policies has forced Dartmouth College to reinstate standardized test scores for admission starting next year. This should never have been eliminated, as merit will always prevail. 

"Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029," Dartmouth wrote in a press release Monday morning. 

"For Dartmouth, the evidence supporting our reactivation of a required testing policy is clear. Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," the elite college said. 

Who would've thought eliminating standardized tests for admission because a fringe minority said they were instruments of racism and a biased system was ever a good idea? 

Also, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. More from Dartmouth, who commissioned the research: 

They also found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high-achieving applicants from low and middle-income backgrounds; who are first-generation college-bound; as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

All the colleges and universities that quickly adopted test-optional admissions in 2020 experienced a surge in applications. Perhaps the push for test-optional was under the guise of woke equality but was nothing more than protecting the bottom line for these institutions. 

A glimpse of sanity returns to woke schools: Admit qualified kids. Next up is corporate America and all tiers of the US government. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/05/2024 - 17:20

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…



To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….



Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 


About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. 

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