Latest News and Commentary: National

September 19, 2022
By Emma Camp
Reason Magazine

Excerpt: In many American universities, prospective professors are now expected to include lengthy diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements in their job applications. Eschewing academic freedom concerns, these schools are requiring applicants to state their allegiance to a specific political perspective, to the point even of penalizing people who express their affinity for diversity in the "wrong" ways.

This poses a clear threat to academic freedom. Mandatory diversity statements, particularly when specific versions of "diversity" are explicitly preferred, can have a chilling effect on faculty who disagree with the approach.

September 19, 2022
By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: A speech by a conservative commentator, Tomi Lahren, at the University of New Mexico Thursday night was disrupted by about 100 protesters, The Albuquerque Journal reported. “My understanding is that [Lahren] was able to finish delivering her speech, and during the Q&A it became really loud, and somebody at some point pulled a fire alarm,” said a university spokeswoman.

The university is “deeply disappointed in the actions of those individuals who intentionally chose to disrupt a scheduled speaker and infringed upon the rights of the speaker and those who attended the event to listen and engage,” said a university statement.

September 19, 2022
By Samuel Abrams
Times Higher Education, Posted through American Enterprise Institute

Excerpt: That free speech and open expression are under real threat in US higher education is not a novel claim. But it has generally been considered to be an issue that only impacts students and academics on the political right. Vastly outnumbered by those on the left and cowed by the progressive zeitgeist that is omnipresent on college campuses today, Republicans have often been shown to be wary of expressing their true views on a range of issues for fear of being “cancelled” by their peers.

But the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (Fire) has just released a study which suggests that students and academics on the left are also deeply afraid of suffering the same fate.

September 19, 2022
By Freddie de Boer
Freddie de Boer, Substack

Excerpt: So, let me start with a concession: I have probably written less about right-wing assaults on free speech than I should. I will 100% concede that the right-wing writ large does not have a leg to stand on when it comes to censorship efforts, especially given their book bannings and attempts to muzzle teachers. I have tended to concern myself with some of the free speech issues that you mentioned, such as issues of free expression and academic freedom on college campuses, and not on the insidious and flatly anti-liberty attempts by conservatives to ban books and censor teachers in public schools.

September 19, 2022
By Parker Molloy
The Present Age, Substack

Excerpt: I’m tired. One thing I find so draining—among many—is the inability to actually discuss any culture war bugaboo without spiraling down into a pit of bad faith nonsense and recriminations, with the battle lines inexorably stagnated. If you’re a reasonably online-saturated person, you may have some prior experience with this enervating and frustrating state of being.

So then, I want to try something a little different. “Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” as Beckett instructed. It will involve the writer Freddie deBoer, and an attempt at an actual exchange of ideas that doesn’t leave both parties feeling like they’re pounding nails into the floor with their forehead. In this case, I want to talk about cancel culture.

September 15, 2022
By Joe Killian
NC Policywatch

Excerpt: As both students and faculty wrestle with speech issues on campus, a panel of undergraduates came together this week for a discussion on free expression and the environment on campus at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The four students on the panel said their experience largely lined up with the report’s findings – including not feeling pressure from faculty to conform to certain political views but recognizing their fellow students might judge or socially shun them for their views, leading some to self-censor. Still, the students said, socializing and debating with those with whom they disagree is an important part of their college experience.

 

September 14, 2022
By Jessica Wills
Foundation for Individual Rights in Expression

Excerpt: Known to its friends as “freedom’s college,” for many years Grove City College maintained a balance between both its self-proclaimed conservative values and its belief in “the foundations of a free society.” But in the last year, the campus community has become fractured, all because the college featured a controversial speaker, offered an elective class in cultural diversity, and conducted racial sensitivity training for the residence life staff. Alumni and donors were enraged by these actions that they perceived as mission drift.

As a senior at Grove City, I experienced my dream school’s transformation into a shell of the place I remembered visiting in high school, all because of the pressure exerted by outraged alumni. Grove City failed to uphold its written commitment in its student handbook: “Rather than political, ideological, or philosophical agendas, objective truth continues as the goal of liberal learning.”

September 14, 2022
By Branden Elmore and Dwayne Wright
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: The queen’s passing and the transition of the monarchy brought many together to mourn the death of a historical figure, yet some felt that her legacy was not worth celebrating. Like most people, Queen Elizabeth’s life was filled with complication. Thus, contemplation on her life and death might be expected to invoke complicated reactions.

Enter racism. It is not surprising that responses to the death of the queen from higher education institutions in the United States follow frames that are anti-Black and dismissive of the degrading histories of British control. Now, more than two years after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others in 2020, higher education continues to struggle with issues of race, power and its own historical legacies.

September 14, 2022
By Adam Liptak
New York Times

Excerpt: The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it would let stand for now a ruling that Yeshiva University must recognize an L.G.B.T. student group. The vote was 5 to 4, with the majority saying that the university, a Modern Orthodox Jewish institution in Manhattan, must first pursue challenges to the ruling in state court.

The majority’s order was brief, unsigned and provisional, which is typical when the justices rule on applications seeking emergency relief. It criticized the university’s litigation strategy, saying its lawyers had not asked a state appeals court to speed its appeal and had not properly sought to block the trial judge’s ruling in the meantime.

September 14, 2022
By Katherine Knott
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Higher education associations generally like Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s new regulations for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 but want more clarity about how the changes would be carried out, as well as more time to put policies in place.

The letter was one of more than 235,000 comments sent to the department about its proposed regulations during the 60-day comment period, which closed Monday. Comments came from a range of associations and advocacy organizations as well as parents, grandparents, students and others.