(Nov. 9) The best news in academia in a long, long time came with this week’s announcement that distinguished scholars and thinkers are founding a new university “fully committed to freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, and civil discourse.”

Put another way, the new University of Austin will stand against “cancel culture,” speech codes, leftist indoctrination, “safe spaces” for students who can’t bear opinions different from their own, obsessions with race and sex to the exclusion of substance, racial preferences in admissions, and hugely expensive administrative staffs.

It will feature a traditional liberal arts curriculum, will have a real campus and real classrooms, and will be “fiercely independent — financially, intellectually, and politically.”

With a full launch of the four-year undergraduate program not slated until the fall of 2024, the University of Austin will begin a master’s program in “Entrepreneurship and Leadership” next fall, and even before that, it will hold a 2022 summer program called “Forbidden Courses,” in which “students will become proficient and comfortable with productive disagreement.”

True open-mindedness, not ideological straitjackets, will be the norm.

The university is a joint project of a host of luminaries from across the political spectrum who have in common a commitment to open debate and civil dialogue. It will be headed by Pano Kanelos, recently the president of St. John’s College in Annapolis , famed for its “Great Books” curriculum. Others on its 31-person board of advisers are so varied and distinguished that it’s hard to choose whom to highlight. Among them, though, are conservatives such as Arthur Brooks, former president of the American Enterprise Institute, Ayaan Hirsi Ali of the Hoover Institution, and Hillsdale College historian Wilfred McClay, along with liberals Larry Summers (former president of Harvard), former New York Times editor Bari Weiss, and Nadine Strossen, who for 18 years was president of the American Civil Liberties Union…. [The full column is at this link]



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