At the University of Austin, the Intellectually Diverse Will Discuss, Rather Than Censor, “Provocative Questions”

(p. A16) A group of scholars and activists are planning to establish a new university dedicated to free speech, alarmed, they said, “by the illiberalism and censoriousness prevalent in America’s most prestigious universities.”

The university, to be known as the University of Austin, or UATX for short, will have a soft start next summer with “Forbidden Courses,” a noncredit program that its founders say will offer a “spirited discussion about the most provocative questions that often lead to censorship or self-censorship in many universities.”

The university then plans to expand to master’s programs and, in several years, to undergraduate courses.

. . .

The prospective university’s board of advisers features some of the most prominent iconoclasts in the country, including Lawrence H. Summers, the former Harvard president; Steven Pinker, a Harvard linguist and psychologist; David Mamet, the playwright; and Glenn Loury, an economist at Brown.

. . .

“I think new models for a university are important,” Dr. Pinker said, “because current universities are locked into a strange business model: exorbitant tuition, a mushrooming bureaucracy, and obscure admissions policies that are neither meritocratic nor egalitarian, combined with plummeting intellectual diversity and tolerance for open inquiry (which is, after all, a university’s raison d’être).”

For the full story, see:

Anemona Hartocollis. “Organizers Plan New University They Say Will Defend Free Speech.” The New York Times (Tuesday, November 9, 2021): A16.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 8, 2021, and has the title “They Say Colleges Are Censorious. So They Are Starting a New One.”)

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