Can a New University Really Fix Academia’s Free Speech Problems?
A group of scholars and journalists announced last month that they were founding the University of Austin on the belief that free speech is being stifled on college campuses across America.
“The reality is that many universities no longer have an incentive to create an environment where intellectual dissent is protected and fashionable opinions are scrutinized,” wrote Pano Kanelos, the inaugural president, in the initial statement.
But the news was followed by intense scrutiny and backlash on social media as part of a longstanding debate about the state of free speech on college campuses. From students boycotting controversial guest speakers to petitions demanding the resignation of faculty members with polarizing opinions, institutions of higher education have been hotbeds of a larger conversation around censorship of speech in the country.