Latest News and Commentary: National

May 16, 2023
By Lex Fridman Podcast

Excerpt: Lex Fridman, an AI Researcher at MIT and podcaster, interviewed Harvey Silverglate. The video is linked below.

Harvey Silverglate is a free speech advocate, co-founder of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and author of several books on freedom of speech and criminal justice. He is running for Harvard Board of Overseers on a platform of free speech.


May 15, 2023
By Ryan Quinn
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Several University of Missouri at Columbia faculty members within the last three years say leaders pressured them to withdraw their tenure and/or promotion applications, a faculty report says.

A few more faculty members reported being pressured to apply for non-tenure-track positions before they even applied for tenure, the document says. It also says some reported pressure to delay applications for promotion.

May 15, 2023
By Joe Killian
NC Newsline

Excerpt: Should students at UNC System Schools and community colleges be required to take a course on history and government, irrespective of their majors? Should lawmakers be able to prescribe the curriculum for such a course, rather than campus leaders and faculty?

Those are a couple of the thorny questions sparked by House Bill 96, one of just a handful of higher-education related bills to make the General Assembly’s crossover deadline earlier this month, giving it a shot at becoming law. Critics of the bill, among them prominent history professors, say understanding U.S. and N.C. history is vital, but the course described in the bill and the readings to be mandated will not give students much context for the sometimes-rocky history of our nation.

May 15, 2023
By Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: Earlier today, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Florida Senate Bill 266, which doubles down on the “Stop WOKE Act.”

FIRE opposes SB 266 because, like its predecessor, it is riddled with constitutional defects. The measure inappropriately limits what faculty may discuss in general education classes, no matter how pedagogically relevant it is to the subject matter of the course. It directs government regulators to review instruction for violation of the Stop WOKE Act, currently enjoined in Florida’s public universities by order of a federal court in litigation brought by FIRE, the ACLU, and other groups. This sweeping language opens the door to a wide range of expressive rights abuses.

May 13, 2023
By Nicole Carr

Excerpt: When one police officer heard the radio call for backup at a high school campus outside Little Rock, Arkansas, he first thought there’d been a problem at a football game. The indecipherable chanting in the background sounded like roars from the bleachers. But it turned out that the rhythmic rallying call that November night last year was coming from the lobby outside a school board meeting.

The prior two meetings, in September and October, had been held in Conway High School’s huge auditorium, equipped with ample seating and plenty of parking for what had, as of late, been larger crowds. There also had been an unusual amount of conflict.

May 11, 2023
By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: The Medical College of Wisconsin cancelled a forum on the “uses and abuses” of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in medicine and science after students and faculty members complained that the forum was not based on science, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The event was to have been sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Scholars, a branch of the National Association of Scholars, which opposes affirmative action. The speakers were to have been critics of affirmative action: U.S. senator Ron Johnson, a Republican; Representative Dave Murphy, chair of the Wisconsin Committee on Colleges and Universities and a Republican; and John D. Sailer, senior fellow and director of university policy for the National Association of Scholars.


May 11, 2023
By Monica Potts
Five Thirty Eight

Excerpt: The GOP’s education culture wars have a new target: college professors.

Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that originally set out to completely eliminate tenure at public colleges and universities. In Ohio, lawmakers are weighing legislation that would mandate tenure reviews for professors. This year, at least three more states — North Dakota, Louisiana and Iowa — considered similar measures, although those proposals stalled. This new wave of bills targets a long-standing and common standard of job protection for college and university professors, meant to ensure freedom of thought among academics and insulate them from political attacks.

May 11, 2023
By Sarah Lehr
Wisconsin Public Radio

Excerpt: The University of Wisconsin will no longer require diversity, equity and inclusion statements from job applicants, UW System President Jay Rothman announced Thursday.

The move comes after Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has threatened to cut state funding to Wisconsin's public universities. Specifically, Vos has criticized DEI programming at UW as an attempt to "indoctrinate" students with taxpayer dollars.

May 10, 2023
By Ronald Brownstein
The Atlantic

Excerpt: Across multiple fronts, Democrats and their allies are stiffening their resistance to a surge of Republican-led book bans.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the past month have conspicuously escalated their denunciations of the book bans proliferating in schools across the country, explicitly linking them to restrictions on abortion and voting rights to make the case that “MAGA extremists” are threatening Americans’ “personal freedom,” as Biden said in the recent video announcing his campaign for a second term.

May 9, 2023
By Greg Sargent
The Washington Post

Excerpt: By now, it’s well understood that the right’s efforts to restrict classroom discussion are all about marginalizing LGBTQ people under the guise of protecting children. But they also harbor a less obvious aim: to convince parents that kids are under threat in the first place. That mild-mannered teacher over there? She just might be scheming to pervert, indoctrinate and snatch away childhood innocence.

Caroline Mickey, the librarian at Alpine Crest Elementary School outside Chattanooga, Tenn., just learned this the hard way, when her idea for a Mother’s Day-themed lesson came under sudden and heavy fire from parents in the area. The vitriol of the attack, and the school district superintendent’s rapid decision to cancel her lesson in response, caught her off guard.