Latest News and Commentary: National

March 31, 2023
By Tabia Lee
Compact Magazine

Excerpt: This month, I was fired from my position as faculty director for the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Education at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, Calif.—a position I had held for two years. This wasn’t an unexpected development. From the beginning, my colleagues and supervisors had made clear their opposition to the approach I brought to the job. Although I was able to advance some positive initiatives, I did so in the face of constant obstruction.

March 31, 2023
By Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: FIRE’s President and CEO Greg Lukianoff and Director of Campus Rights Advocacy Alex Morey will discuss the breakdown of free speech culture at law schools in light of the recent shout-downs and censorship at Stanford, Yale, Georgetown, and more. We hope you’ll join us as Greg and Alex address the effect this illiberal culture will have on future generations of lawyers and how university stakeholders can work to promote a culture of free expression.

March 30, 2023
By Fabio Rojas
Heterodox Academy

Excerpt: The College Board recently released its curriculum for the Advanced Placement African American studies course. The goal of the course is to provide students with a set of ideas and readings that will give them the knowledge comparable to a freshman-level college course in African American studies.

The curriculum promptly generated outrage after leaks indicated that some authors and topics had been reduced or entirely cut from the curriculum as a response to pressure from Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Via Twitter, Professor Noliwe Rooks of Brown University released a list of authors who had been excised, and I was on that list.

March 30, 2023
By Pamela Paul
New York Times

Excerpt: On April 8, 1991, when I was a sophomore at Brown University, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came to campus to speak. Conservatives allegedly existed at Brown, but the school was as true to its left-leaning reputation then as it is now.

That April evening of Scalia’s talk, I lined up with my anti-Helms T-shirt on. I barely made it into a back row of the packed auditorium, where I awaited what would surely be a triumphant Q. and A. session. Once Scalia finished and we the righteous had a chance to speak truth to the evil one, we would rip apart his so-called originalism, his hypocrisies, his imperiousness. We were champing at the bit to have our say. And then he wiped the floor with us.

March 29, 2023
By John Hasnas
James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Excerpt: I read with interest and trepidation the Martin Center’s March 16 article “Davidson College Affirms Free Speech,” which noted that Davidson had adopted a version of the Chicago Principles as its new speech policy.

My interest came from the recognition that the college had made an abstract commitment to preserving freedom of speech on campus. My trepidation came from the tone of celebration the article embodied—the implication that adopting the new policy would actually protect unpopular speech. There is an old saying that it is good to learn from experience but better to learn from someone else’s experience. In the hope that people at Davidson will adhere to that aphorism, I offer my experience at Georgetown University.

March 29, 2023
By Emma Pettit
Chronicle of Higher Education

Excerpt: The governing board overseeing Florida’s public universities on Wednesday approved a post-tenure-review process that allows for poorly performing professors to be fired.

About 10 Florida professors and students urged the board during the meeting’s public-comment section not to approve the regulation. They argued that it would weaken tenure and drive talented scholars away from Florida. They also said that professors are already evaluated a considerable amount.

March 29, 2023
By Michael Poliakoff

Excerpt: In the current legislative session, five state legislatures will review bills that seek to limit or abolish offices on public university campuses known by the catch-all acronym “DEI.” (The initials stand for “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” though the exact titles vary from campus to campus.) Another 15 state legislatures will review bills that seek to ban or limit functions related to DEI offices.

The case against DEI offices (and the sizable bureaucracies they spawn) almost always holds that their operations restrict free speech and encourage divisiveness, rather than the open-minded pursuit of knowledge and understanding that one typically finds in college mission statements.

March 27, 2023
By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Walter Wendler, the president of West Texas A&M University, was sued Friday for canceling a drag show on campus. He was sued by Spectrum WT and two of its student leaders. They were represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

“College presidents can’t silence students simply because they disagree with their expression,” said a FIRE lawyer, Adam Steinbaugh. “The First Amendment protects student speech, whether it’s gathering on campus to study the Bible, hosting an acid-tongued political speaker, or putting on a charity drag show.”

March 27, 2023
By Sean Stevens
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: Over the past decade, efforts to boost diversity, equity, and inclusion on college campuses and in the workplace have escalated rapidly. To this end, some schools require job applicants to submit a written statement demonstrating their commitment to promoting DEI and their past experiences doing so.

Our recent survey of 1,491 faculty members across the United States reveals that faculty surveyed are split evenly on whether colleges should require job applicants to submit a DEI statement as a prerequisite for being hired. Half of faculty said DEI statements are “a justifiable requirement for a job at a university,” while the other half said they are “an ideological litmus test that violates academic freedom.”

March 27, 2023
By Ilya Shapiro
Shapiro's Gavel

Excerpt: These items will likely pale in comparison to what I have on tap this week, most notably testimony before the House Education Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Workforce. This Wednesday at 10:15am, that body will hold a hearing on “Diversity of Thought: Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses” that promises quite the excitement. Here is my written testimony, which I will summarize in five minutes of prepared remarks before the free-for-all begins. Pop some popcorn.