Latest News and Commentary: National

December 7, 2022
By Mason Goad and Bruce Chartwell
National Association of Scholars

Excerpt: This report documents and quantifies the growing prevalence of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) associated language in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in the United States. For this study, five new datasets were assembled—comprising over 30 GB of data in over 280,000 files—focusing on American university webpages, university Twitter accounts, annual programs of academic associations, grants of major scientific research funders, and publications of scientific research, making this the largest study to date of DEI ideology’s intensification in STEM fields.

December 6, 2022
By Eugene Volokh
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: Plaintiff Kiersten Hening, a former member of the Virginia Tech women's soccer team, filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against her former coach, Charles "Chugger" Adair. Specifically, Hening alleges that, after she refused to kneel in support of social-justice initiatives, including Black Lives Matter ("BLM"), prior to the team's 2020 season opener against the University of Virginia ("UVA"), Adair retaliated against her in violation of the First Amendment.

December 6, 2022
By Eugene Volokh
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: To be sure, speech has costs as well as benefits. My point so far has been that exposing law students to important mainstream views, even ones that many students find to be offensive or downright evil, has benefits that are even more substantial than normal for speech to the public at large. But beyond that, the costs of doing so are less substantial than normal.

December 5, 2022
By Stanford Alumni for Free Speech and Critical Thinking

Excerpt: here is a proposal we urge be considered by Stanford’s students, parents, faculty, administrators, and trustees for possible adoption, with whatever changes they believe appropriate. Merely having a discussion of these issues may, in our view, go a long way toward addressing concerns that have been raised in recent years.

December 5, 2022
By Timothy Kaufman-Osborn
Academe Blog

Excerpt: For academic freedom’s advocates, there is much to like about the recent federal court ruling prohibiting Florida’s board of governors from enforcing the Individual Freedom Act. Especially gratifying are the rhetorical tropes Judge Mark Walker deploys in justifying this preliminary injunction.

In two earlier blog entries, I argued that the Stop W.O.K.E. Act is one element of a much larger project designed to secure unilateral control over Florida’s public education system, including its colleges and universities, in the service of a right-wing agenda. Here, I extend that argument but suggest that what Judge Walker represents as a ruling in favor of academic freedom in fact justifies the state’s authority to encroach on that same freedom. Walker thereby intimates the structural reforms that are essential if the university is to prove a sustainable home for the unfettered inquiry that is its mission.

December 2, 2022
By Sofia Lopez
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: Last week, FIRE submitted a formal comment to the Florida Board of Governors on a proposed regulation that requires tenured faculty at Florida’s public universities to undergo a comprehensive post-tenure review every five years. FIRE’s comment details serious free speech and due process concerns about the proposed regulation, which is now open for public comment through Dec. 9. 

December 1, 2022
By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: The university cited “core values and Christian tenets.” The Supreme Court has indeed ruled that private and religious college need not recognize unions, but some colleges do recognize them anyway. For 21 years, Edward Waters has done so.

Faculty criticized the decision. Kenneth Davis, a criminal justice professor and president of the faculty union, said, “De-recognizing the union is a union-busting tactic, so it makes it harder to keep people engaged. The union is a bargaining organization for the faculty. It helps to support academic freedom, which involves free speech, the ability to challenge and speak out and do research and present that research without fear of retribution.”

December 1, 2022
By Colleen Flaherty
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Two faculty members at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus say they were suddenly told they can’t work there anymore. While the reason for the nonrenewals remains obscure, the professors both believe they were rejected for questioning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stance on homosexuality.

December 1, 2022
By Eugene Volokh
Wall Street Journal

Excerpt: New York politicians are slapping a badge on my chest. A law going into effect Saturday requires social-media networks, including any site that allows comments, to publish a plan for responding to alleged hate speech by users.

The law blog I run fits the bill, so the law will mandate that I post publicly my policy for responding to comments that “vilify, humiliate, or incite violence against a group” based on “race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” It also requires that I give readers a way to complain about my blog’s content and obligates me to respond directly. By obligating me to do the state’s bidding with regard to viewpoints that New York condemns, the law violates the First Amendment.