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Can New Universities Save Higher Education?

By J.Allen Cartwright writing for Areo

The 2021 CSPI report revealed that,

In the US, over a third of conservative academics and PhD students have been threatened with disciplinary action for their views while 70% of conservative academics report a hostile departmental climate for their beliefs … In the social sciences and humanities, over 9 in 10 Trump-supporting academics and 8 in 10 Brexit-supporting academics say they would not feel comfortable expressing their views to a colleague.

Professors have also been fired or suspended for expressing conservative views. For example, a Marquette University professor—the late John McAdams—was suspended in response to his 2014 blog post criticising a liberal teaching assistant for having shut down a classroom debate over same-sex marriage. (He was reinstated only as a result of successfully suing the university for breach of his employment contract).

Professors have also faced sanctions for expressing conservative views. Such as Marquette University professor—the late John McAdams, who was suspended in response to criticising a liberal teaching assistant for having shit down a classroom debate over same-sex marriage. Bo Winegard, formerly a professor of psychology at Marietta College, was fired in March 2020 for expressing politically incorrect views for expressing views that the university deemed politically incorrect. Gordon Klein, a professor of accounting at the University of California-Los Angeles was suspended in June 2020 for having denied an (ironically, non-black) student’s request that black students’ final exams be graded more leniently in deference to the “trauma” they were assumed to be experiencing after having learned of the killing of George Floyd.

Does the creation of new universities offer new hope for more diverse thoughts?

In November 2021, against this backdrop, the formation of the University of Austin was announced. This new educational institution is committed to the free pursuit of truth.

The president, Pano Kanelos made the announcement with these words:

We are a dedicated crew that grows by the day. Our backgrounds and experiences are diverse; our political views differ. What unites us is a common dismay at the state of modern academia and a recognition that we can no longer wait for the cavalry. And so we must be the cavalry … An education rooted in the pursuit of truth is the antidote to the kind of ignorance and incivility that is everywhere around us. As Frederick Douglass proclaimed: “Education…means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.”

The announcement created quite a buzz. Within a week, over 3,000 academics had expressed an interest in joining the project.

Read the full article at Areo.