Excerpt: The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier organization advocating strategic board leadership in higher education, today released Freedom of Speech and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on Campus: Considerations for Board Members and Chief Executives, a publication providing practical insights into why and how institutional leaders should prioritize freedom of speech as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Latest News and Commentary: National
Excerpt: If we are to fend off right-wing attacks on education that examines the stubborn persistence of white supremacy in the United States, we must prove able to defend our claims about what is variously called “structural,” “systemic” or “institutional” racism. In this regard, we owe a debt to the American Association of University Professors and specifically the report its special committee issued in April titled “Governance, Academic Freedom, and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina System.”
Earlier this month the AAUP governing council voted to condemn the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and system office for, among other things, taking “actions with regard to the system’s minority serving institutions to reduce budgets, defer maintenance, maintain low salaries, and increase the workloads of faculty members of color at these institutions.”
Excerpt: Today, the Department of Education proposed new Title IX regulations that, if implemented, would gut essential free speech and due process rights for college students facing sexual misconduct allegations on campus. As required by federal law, the department must now solicit public feedback before the pending rules are finalized.
The draft regulations are a significant departure from current Title IX regulations. Unlike the current regulations, adopted in 2020 after 18 months of review, the new regulations would roll back student rights.
Excerpt: In June 2022, Peter Boghossian posted a video featuring Dr. Lyell Asher, a professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, titled “Why Colleges are Becoming Cults.” Although Dr. Asher raised many important points, perhaps the most significant was his discussion of the commonly heard refrain in universities that “[i]t’s not the intention, but the impact, that matters.” This focus on the “impact” of speech, according to Asher, is a direct threat to open inquiry because it is a useful authoritarian tool of university administrators to control intramural and extramural expression.
Excerpt: Georgia Gwinnett College repeatedly blocked a Christian student from evangelizing on campus more than five years ago. Today, its administrators have agreed to pay the price.
Georgia Gwinnett College will pay $800,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against it by the silenced Christian student, Chike Uzuegbunam, his attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom announced Wednesday. The payout represents “nominal damages and attorneys’ fees.”
Excerpt: This spring, as I wrote for Newsdesk, the American Association of University Professors issued a damning report on Linfield University’s abrupt firing of tenured Shakespeare scholar Daniel Pollack-Pelzner in response to his criticisms of the university’s leadership. The report seemed all but certain to set the AAUP on a path to censure Linfield at its annual meeting. That censure vote, to no one’s surprise and Linfield’s discredit, is now official.
Excerpt: Delegates at the American Association of University Professors’ biennial meeting voted to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers Saturday, forming an alliance of 300,000 college and university faculty members, the largest such network in the U.S.
The groups say their partnership comes at time of increased legislative attacks on teaching and academic freedom, and they link what they describe as persistent underfunding for higher education to student debt levels and precarity for adjunct instructors.
Excerpt: West Virginia’s four-year colleges and universities maintain nearly 100 policies that restrict freedom of speech, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.
FIRE reviewed the speech codes—policies that prohibit expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large—at 17 public or private colleges and universities in West Virginia and found 92 policies that restrict freedom of speech. 47% of those West Virginia institutions earned FIRE’s worst, “red light” rating for clearly and substantially restricting free speech, while just 18.5% of schools earn that rating nationally.
Excerpt: The University of Houston last week agreed to rescind its anti-harassment policy in a settlement with several students who sued the school and its chancellor, alleging that the policy violated their First and 14th Amendment rights.
A settlement in Speech First v. Khator et al. spells the end of the university's sweeping anti-harassment policy, which a group of conservative students claimed would restrict almost all expression of their political beliefs.
Excerpt: Americans have spent over 150 years arguing about what kind of history we should teach to our children. In “Schoolbook Nation,” a book that examines the history of conflicts over American curricula, historian Joseph Moreau noted that a variety of Americans have worried about the sky falling if the “wrong” versions of history were taught in our schools. Americans, as Moreau documented, were concerned about this in the 1870s, again in the 1920s and, as we’ve seen recently, they are still concerned today.