A House of Representatives subcommittee lambasted college leaders Thursday for their perceived failure in stemming the illegal downloading of music and movies by students. Committee members, responding to complaints by the entertainment industry that campuses have been slow to restrict copyright infringement, pressed for answers and made vague threats about possible changes in intellectual property law that could result if higher education as a whole does not adopt a more aggressive approach.
Conventional wisdom and plenty of books tell a story of how the post-World War II years saw a great shift take place in elite higher education: As a result of the G.I. Bill, the civil rights and women's movements, changing demographics, and some forward thinking academic leaders, you no longer needed to have the right ancestors and the right prep school to get into the top universities. Meritocracy emerged as a dominant force.