I entered graduate school to study English literature in the late 1980s, eventually receiving a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature, and have been a professional academic ever since. I have reached that point in life where I am sufficiently wizened — and sufficiently jaded — to be allowed the luxury of griping about how much tougher it was growing up for my generation. As a life-long teacher, I might also be granted indulgence if I grumble about how little my college students actually know compared to what I learned. And although there is as much justice as exaggeration in these observations, the thing that never ceases to amaze me is how morally stunted and ethically underdeveloped our students are, how utterly unable to make even obvious moral distinctions, and how completely uninterested in differentiating between virtue and vice.

Occupy Wall Street’s latest grievance centers on student loan programs and higher education reform, and the group’s most recent campaign involves a movement-wide boycott on student loan debt repayment. Early Monday afternoon, a crowd of faculty and student organizers assembled at the southeast corner of New York City's Zuccotti Park to announce Occupy Student Debt, a national initiative directed at recruiting student loan borrowers and requesting that they willfully default on their loan payments. The campaign consists of three pledges:

prayingThe ACLU’s Nebraska franchise is demanding that a school district in that state put a stop to prayer at its high school graduation, even though the ceremony is sponsored and run privately by parents. Ten years ago the ACLU targeted Lakeview High School in Columbus, Nebraska, for its graduation prayer, arguing that the practice violates the U.S. Constitution’s supposed separation of church and state. To appease the secular watchdog group, the school district spun off the graduation ceremony to parents, making the ceremony a private event at which they believed prayers would be beyond the ACLU’s self-commissioned purview.

When 70 students attending economics professor Greg Mankiw’s (left) Economics 10 class on November 2nd walked out in protest, they wrote an open letter to him explaining why:

"Today, we are walking out of your class…in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course…

Jerry SanduskyThe Penn State University sex-abuse scandal certainly seems unique. College-football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky (shown at left) could have been investigated as early as 1995 for abusing young boys, but instead was allowed to commit his crimes for another 10 years. School athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz face charges of lying to a grand jury investigating Sandusky, and university president Graham Spanier has been fired. And even more headline-grabbing, famed head football coach Joe Paterno has also been discharged. While not accused of any criminally actionable behavior, the gridiron legend is condemned for failing to do enough to stop the abuse after becoming aware of it.