Latest News and Commentary: National

June 17, 2022
By Kate Murphy
Charlotte News & Observer

Excerpt: The national organization for university faculty has “resoundingly” criticized the UNC System Board of Governors and the UNC System office for sustaining what the group called a climate of institutional racism and for violating standards of shared governance and academic freedom.

The governing council of the American Association of University Professors voted unanimously Thursday to pass a joint resolution “resoundingly” condemning the university system after a recent AAUP special committee report. The lengthy report highlighted “alarming trends” at North Carolina universities perpetuated by increased political pressure, according to the AAUP.

 

June 17, 2022
By Maxine Bernstein
The Oregonian

Excerpt: The governing council of a national academic association this week voted to censure Linfield University over the abrupt firing of tenured English professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, an advocate for students and faculty who had complained of sexual harassment by four university board trustees.

The move by the American Association of University Professors, a nonprofit group of faculty and other academic professionals based in Washington, D.C., follows an investigation it had done that found Linfield fired Pollack-Pelzner without due process and violated the school’s own regulations on academic freedom.

June 17, 2022
By Richard Reinsch
Law & Liberty

Excerpt: This episode of Liberty Law Talk features an interview with Keith Whittington concerning the work of the Academic Freedom Alliance and its work to safeguard freedom of inquiry in academia.

June 16, 2022
By Divya Kumar
Tampa Bay Times

Excerpt: The group that accredits the University of Florida said Thursday that the school had complied with its principles, acted with integrity and taken adequate steps over the last five months to protect academic freedom.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits universities in the Southeast, had launched an investigation in November after reading news reports about UF professors who were initially forbidden from testifying in cases against the state because university officials told them it was not in the best interest of the school.

June 16, 2022
By Nicole Carr
ProPublica

Excerpt: Lewis, a middle school principal, initially applied for a position that would bring her closer to the classroom as a coach for teachers. But district leaders were so impressed by her interview that they encouraged her to apply instead for a new opening they’d created: their first administrator focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

The following month, inside a gabled white clubhouse overlooking the hills of a Cherokee County golf course, dozens of parents from across the county had assembled on a Sunday afternoon for a lesson in an emerging form of warfare. School board meetings would be their battlefield. Their enemy was CRT.

 

June 16, 2022
By John Kennedy
Tallahassee Democrat

Excerpt: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop Woke Act” is facing its first federal court test after weeks of being celebrated by the political right for restricting race-based teaching and training in schools, universities and workplaces. But not all conservatives are lined up behind the Republican governor. A civil liberties organization, which has sided with Florida Republicans in the past on campus speech issues, is among those now condemning DeSantis’ approach.

“It’s intended to chill speech,” said Adam Steinbaugh, an attorney with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). “The entire point of the new law is to set out certain categories or concepts that the state disdains and says you can’t introduce.”

June 16, 2022
By Yascha Mounk
The Atlantic

Excerpt: The debate about the state of free speech on American college campuses is deeply polarized. On one side, some commentators caricature students as “snowflakes” in search of a “safe space” from which they can “cancel” their own classmates. On the other side are those who claim that the students’ supposed aversion to discussing controversial topics is a chimera invented by Fox News or insist that those who demand the right to express disapproved views have fallen foul of a healthy “consequence culture.” As someone who has taught hundreds of students and given dozens of guest lectures over the past decade, I know that the reality is more complicated.

 

June 15, 2022
By Joe Killian
NC Policywatch

Excerpt: When Policy Watch reported on conservative writer and podcaster Ben Shapiro’s visit to UNCG in April, it had all the hallmarks of the current debate over free speech on campuses.

 

But after a year’s work on eight UNC System campuses that included surveying more than 3,400 students, a team of researchers say Shapiro’s visit isn’t indicative of the important questions surrounding free speech on campuses. It is, they say, indicative of one of their key findings: the loudest, most passionate voices often dominate the conversation and get the most attention without actually representing the campus community.

June 15, 2022
By Aaron Terr
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Excerpt: Last week, the University of Washington faculty voted down a proposed amendment to the faculty code that would have required tenure and promotion candidates to “reflect on past and planned contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the self-assessment of their qualifications for tenure or promotion.” FIRE wrote to UW in late May expressing concern that the proposed policy would penalize faculty who dissent from the prevailing campus consensus on DEI-related issues.

June 15, 2022
By Matt Major and Jacob Mackey
Persuasion

Excerpt: “Cancel culture.” A hypervigilance over words that harm. Safetyism. An identitarian essentialism reminiscent of the 19th century. These are supposedly the inherent flaws of Gen Z. This generation is hard at work dismantling Western Civilization with its authoritarian political correctness and pathological fragility—or so say conservative, moderate, and old-school leftist commentators alike. We’re here to report, however tentatively, that all is not yet lost. Collective effort, of the sort we instituted at our college, offers hope.