Scholars announce their own university, protesting against alleged liberal bias in higher education

This summer, Pano Canellos stepped down as president of St. John’s College, a few years into the job, and just before the end of his term.

On the way out, He praised the Annapolis organization, Which is known for the Great Books course, which focuses on the main texts of Western civilization, to stay “out of the cultural wars that challenge our society.” He remarked that “the central power of politics is pulling everything into it,” which made it difficult for him to take liberal education in free thought and speech.

Realizing that politics is at a crossroads in higher education, the outgoing president asked, “How can we consciously take the place of freedom over time?”

Maybe by starting a new university.

Canellos answered his own question this week as he announced the creation of the University of Austin, an institution-in-the-making that describes itself as “committed to freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience and civic discourse.”

Contrary to many new higher education efforts, the proposed university — in short UATX— hopes to establish itself on a physical campus. In an age of massively open online courses and distance learning to create real schools in real buildings with as few screens as possible, this would certainly feel retro-perhaps counter-cultural. But sometimes there is wisdom in the things that survive, ”wrote Canellos Letter announcing the launch of UATX.

So its leaders are looking for land in the capital city of Texas. Why is Austin the main city of the South by Southwest Festival whose slogan appeals to residents and visitors to “keep Austin weird”? Because, according to the university, the city is a center for “builders, mavericks and builders.” Detailed FAQ webpageApples “If it’s good enough for Elon Musk and Joe Rogan, it’s good enough for us.”

Specifically she sent the line and the overall announcement Academic Twitter-Sometimes uncontrolled collection of scholars and other high aid workers – a frenzy. Almost immediately after university Teaser trailer Hit the internet, Parody video pops up.

Many observers criticized the cast of characters who had gathered to work on the UATX Board of Advisors. Like Canelos, many of them have recently picked up and left other institutions – some of which have sparked controversy on the way out. Peter Boghosian is a professor of philosophy who left Portland State University Amendment Abuse, Calling him “Social Justice Factory. ” Barry Wes, is a reporter Who left the New York Times Cowards cited bullying and a “generous atmosphere” after some of her ideas were pushed back. Heather Haying is a biology professor who left Evergreen State College Disposal of suit She and her husband filed an application for their treatment during a campus protest.

By establishing itself against those institutions, Austin’s new university promises to be “extremely independent financially, intellectually and politically”. No one can sign up for classes yet — but they can pay. Her website states that $ 250,000 will help 10 students — that is, ट्यू 25,000 a year in tuition?

The organization, whose leaders say it will be approved (although that process takes several years), has secured enough seed money to launch and, according to its website, aims to raise an additional $ 250 million. Its financial sponsor is a nonprofit called Cicero Research, which is affiliated with one of the co-founders of the data-analytics company Palantir. Cicero was researching No assets By 2020, According to the Daily Beast.

According to the university’s website, most of the money raised will be spent on suggestions, not on administrative “bureaucracy”, as the organization aims to “outsource or streamline student events, athletics and outdoor services whenever possible to keep costs down.” Canellos made this clear in his manifesto, criticizing that “universities now aim to attract and retain students through client-driven ‘student experiences’ – from trivial entertainment to emotional support to luxury facilities.”

Yet research shows that those services and activities are programs that help students complete college. They can be especially important Higher education usually provides less good service to studentsStudents are likely to stay away from the Cotidian struggle to make ends meet, which the UATX website names as one of the motivations for creating physical premises.

It remains to be seen what all the rhetoric about freedom and liberty looks like in practice. Canellos’ farewell interview with St. John’s may give some clues. He called for an environment where “intellectual discovery is the focus” and for the learning community to “let each other make mistakes, explore ideas that may not be fruitful, sometimes say things that are challenging or hurtful.” About others – and then when we make mistakes, forgive each other and keep moving on. ”

This is a view of education that seems inconsistent with the fact that many students and professors “do not want to make it an intellectual subject in their lives,” a professor recently told Edsurg.

As news of the proposed university spread, Some early supporters are explaining their affiliation His opinions with him and his tough roles. One person listed as an advisor to the University of Austin, for example, is longtime college president Gordon Gee, who now heads the University of West Virginia. But he emailed Monday, keeping professors, staff and students away from the campus of Upstart University in West Virginia U.

“Serving in the capacity of a consultant does not mean that I believe or agree with everything that other counselors can share,” he wrote. “I do not agree that other universities are no longer searching for the truth or that I do not think higher education has ever been filled. I don’t believe that’s going to happen at West Virginia University. ”

Another advisor, Jonathan Head, a longtime advocate for diversity diversity in universities, expressed his strong support for UATX. In a tweet Monday. Haidt runs a group called Heterodox Academy, of which Kanelos is a member.

Austin University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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