Latest News and Commentary: National

May 1, 2023
By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
Higher Ed Dive

Excerpt: The nation’s leading faculty group has accused Emporia State University of imperiling academic freedom when it laid off at least 30 professors last year over financial concerns.

The Kansas public institution said it dismissed the tenured or tenure-track faculty members because of pandemic-induced financial stress. But an American Association of University Professors investigation, the findings of which were made public Monday, casts doubt on that assertion.

May 1, 2023
By Asher Lehrer-Small
The Guardian

Excerpt: Since Texas lawmakers in 2021 passed a ban on lessons teaching that any one group is “inherently racist, sexist or oppressive”, a little-noticed provision of that legislation has triggered a massive fallout for civics education across the state.

Tucked into page 8 is a stipulation outlawing all assignments involving “direct communication” between students and their federal, state or local officials – short-circuiting the training young Texans receive to participate in democracy itself.

April 26, 2023
By Anders Hagstrom
Fox News

Excerpt: Hundreds of professors at the University of North Carolina signed a public letter Tuesday opposing legislation that would require university students to take courses on America's government and founding documents. The 673 UNC Chapel Hill professors revealed the public letter Tuesday, arguing the new courses and another bill in the North Carolina House of Representatives would constitute an infringement on the university's "academic freedom."

The first piece of legislation, House Bill 96, would require students to take a 3 credit-hour course covering America's founding and history. Required reading for the course would include the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, at least five essays from the Federalist Papers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Gettysburg Address.

April 26, 2023
By Joe Killian
NC Newsline

Excerpt: The North Carolina chapter of the American Association of University Professors released an open letter Wednesday opposing a slate of higher education-related bills the group says will threaten academic freedom, diversity efforts and non-partisan university governance.

The letter, like the open letter from more than 670 faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill this week, opposes the expansion of powers of the North Carolina General Assembly and its political appointees and the marginalizing of faculty and campus-level administration. AAUP represents faculty across the 17-campus UNC System and, at the national level, tens of thousands of faculty across the country.

April 26, 2023
By Tom Bartlett
Chronicle of Higher Education

Excerpt: The meeting of New College of Florida’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday afternoon began with a full hour of fierce criticism from members of the community, as dozens of professors, students, and parents lambasted what they view as a hostile takeover of the institution by a Republican governor with likely presidential ambitions. It ended with the chairman of the faculty resigning from the college.

April 25, 2023
By Jessica Wills
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: During his years in the University of California system at both Berkeley and Los Angeles, Dominic Manser was disturbed by the student body’s penchant for disruptive conduct.  That’s why he teamed up with fellow UCLA alumnus Jerry Mosley to found Bruin Alumni in Defense of Free Speech.

The Bruin Alumni intend to petition UCLA to adopt the Chicago Statement, which protects free expression for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, they hope to institute free expression training for incoming students to encourage rigorous dialogue and reduce the fear students experience when discussing their beliefs.

April 22, 2023
By Rich Calder
New York Post

Excerpt: Now that takes balls! “Real Time” host Bill Maher jokingly unveiled a new “award show” during his closing monologue Friday evening, saying it’ll be better than the Oscars and Emmys because it’s dedicated to people brave enough to stand up against the cancel culture. He vowed to present the “Cojones Awards” — a golden statue of dangling testicles — each year moving forward for “outstanding achievement in growing a pair.”

April 21, 2023
By Aaron Sibarium
Washington Free Beacon

Excerpt: Stanford University's Black Law Students Association will no longer help the university recruit black students after the law school's dean, Jenny Martinez, apologized in early March to Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan. The students cited what they described as the "scapegoating" of the school's diversity dean, Tirien Steinbach, for an incident last month in which students disrupted Duncan's remarks and Steinbach egged them on.

April 21, 2023
By Christina Paxson, President of Brown University
New York Times

Excerpt: America is facing a fundamental threat‌, and it echoes a dark past. In 1633, Galileo was forced to renounce the “false opinion” that the Earth circled the sun since it collided with the prevailing beliefs of the Catholic Church. Shortly after publication in 1859, Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was banned from the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Each of these episodes of censorship and repression of knowledge reflected the unique social and political tensions of its time. But the proponents of censorship and repression all had one thing in common: they were on the wrong side of history. The mistakes of the past are being repeated in this country, right now.

April 20, 2023
By Sabrina Conza
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: In the latest example of students shutting down views they disagree with on campus, Whitworth University’s student government denied the campus Turning Point USA chapter’s request to invite Chinese dissident Xi Van Fleet to campus because of her criticism of “woke culture.”

Last week, the Associated Students of Whitworth University voted 9-4 to deny TPUSA’s request. Students criticized Van Fleet’s comparison of the spread of “woke” ideas — which they said includes “Black Lives Matter,” “environmental justice,” “latinx,” the LGBT community, and more — to the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China.