It was just announced on Bari Weiss's substack that a new university is being launched in order to combat the wokeness that is destroying the university system.
That's right. The University of Austin will be a non-woke university open to free thought.
The announcement acknowledges what everyone to the right of Hillary Clinton already knows, higher education has been corrupted to the core with wokeness and is beyond repair. So this group of liberal free speech advocates are doing something about it.
The academic at the head of the project is Pano Kanelos, who just left his position as president of St. John's College in order to start this new project in Texas.
Kanelos authored the piece on Bari Weiss's substack announcing the new University and he does a great job of outlining the reasons a change has to be made.
"Nearly a quarter of American academics in the social sciences or humanities endorse ousting a colleague for having a wrong opinion about hot-button issues such as immigration or gender differences. Over a third of conservative academics and PhD students say they had been threatened with disciplinary action for their views. Four out of five American PhD students are willing to discriminate against right-leaning scholars, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology.
The picture among undergraduates is even bleaker. In Heterodox Academy's 2020 Campus Expression Survey, 62% of sampled college students agreed that the climate on their campus prevented students from saying things they believe. Nearly 70% of students favor reporting professors if the professor says something students find offensive, according to a Challey Institute for Global Innovation survey. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reports at least 491 disinvitation campaigns since 2000. Roughly half were successful.
On our quads, faculty are being treated like thought criminals. Dorian Abbot, a University of Chicago scientist who has objected to aspects of affirmative action, was recently disinvited from delivering a prominent public lecture on planetary climate at MIT. Peter Boghossian, a philosophy professor at Portland State University, finally quit in September after years of harassment by faculty and administrators. Kathleen Stock, a professor at University of Sussex, just resigned after mobs threatened her over her research on sex and gender.
We had thought such censoriousness was possible only under oppressive regimes in distant lands. But it turns out that fear can become endemic in a free society. It can become most acute in the one place—the university—that is supposed to defend "the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable."
The diagnosis is definitely accurate. Universities are no longer places for diverse thought. Conservatives are not welcomed.
This new university looks to be a partial answer to this problem. If modern universities have gone too woke, why can't we start new universities that are actually open to competing thoughts and ideas?
Kanelos goes on:
"At some future point, historians will study how we arrived at this tragic pass. And perhaps by then we will have reformed our colleges and universities, restoring them as bastions of open inquiry and civil discourse.
But we are done waiting. We are done waiting for the legacy universities to right themselves. And so we are building anew.
I mean that quite literally.
As I write this, I am sitting in my new office (boxes still waiting to be unpacked) in balmy Austin, Texas, where I moved three months ago from my previous post as president of St. John's College in Annapolis.
I am not alone.
Our project began with a small gathering of those concerned about the state of higher education—Niall Ferguson, Bari Weiss, Heather Heying, Joe Lonsdale, Arthur Brooks, and I—and we have since been joined by many others, including the brave professors mentioned above, Kathleen Stock, Dorian Abbot and Peter Boghossian.
We count among our numbers university presidents: Robert Zimmer, Larry Summers, John Nunes, and Gordon Gee, and leading academics, such as Steven Pinker, Deirdre McCloskey, Leon Kass, Jonathan Haidt, Glenn Loury, Joshua Katz, Vickie Sullivan, Geoffrey Stone, Bill McClay, and Tyler Cowen.
We are also joined by journalists, artists, philanthropists, researchers, and public intellectuals, including Lex Fridman, Andrew Sullivan, Rob Henderson, Caitlin Flanagan, David Mamet, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sohrab Ahmari, Stacy Hock, Jonathan Rauch, and Nadine Strossen.
We are a dedicated crew that grows by the day. Our backgrounds and experiences are diverse; our political views differ. What unites us is a common dismay at the state of modern academia and a recognition that we can no longer wait for the cavalry. And so we must be the cavalry."
That's quite a list of influential people. Academics, journalists, researchers, and philanthropists are all already on board.
Conservatives should be excited about this. Most of the names listed aren't conservative, but they are pro-free speech and pro-real education. And you do have some prominent conservatives on board as well such as Glenn Loury and Sohrab Ahmari.
One of the more influential academics involved in this project, Peter Boghossian, tweeted this out shortly after the announcement:
Professors and academics of goodwill are clamoring to join this project and flee their woke work field.
Niall Ferguson, one of those involved in the founding of The University of Austin, wrote a piece for Bloomberg upon the announcement that further explains the reasons for the new university.
The success of this endeavor is, obviously, yet to be seen. It may fizzle out and fail. But the spirit is right.
We have to fight back. Whether it's the Daily Wire hiring canceled actors and sports anchors, or if it's the Babylon Bee doing conservative satire, or a brand new university, conservatives need to support moving into these spaces and not abandoning them to the left.
Here is the official announcement:
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "Highlights from Biden's speech last night" 👇