A reason to get residency in NC?
I'm impressed. But paying out-of-state tuition? I need to start looking for some lakefront property down there. Oh, I forgot, our kids graduated.
UNC Takes on the University Echo Chamber
A public university has a novel idea for creating a true marketplace for ideas.
By The Editorial Board, WSJ
Jan. 26, 2023 6:36 pm ET
Progressive politics has dominated elite universities since before the term woke was coined. But one university is trying to revive the academic ideal of a campus as a haven for free inquiry and debate. On Thursday the University of North Carolina board of trustees voted 12-0 to create a new school committed to free expression in higher education.
UNC will establish the School of Civic Life and Leadership and plans to hire professors from across the ideological spectrum to teach in such academic departments as history, literature, philosophy, political science and religion. These disciplines have become enforcers of ideological uniformity at most schools. Board Chair David Boliek and Vice Chair John Preyer tell us that the idea is to end “political constraints on what can be taught in university classes.”
Rather than replacing current professors or creating faculty turf battles, UNC plans to create a discrete program with its own dean and at least 20 new professors to build a syllabus free from ideological enforcers. Students will be able to choose the new classes to fulfill university core requirements. Those who aren’t interested can stay in the existing courses.
According to a College Fix survey of 14 humanities and STEM departments at UNC, Democratic professors outnumber Republicans 16 to 1. In the English department, the ratio is 23 to 1 and in Chemistry 28-1. At private and Ivy League schools the ratios are often steeper. By comparison, at Ohio State the faculty ratio is 7 to 1 and University of Nebraska-Omaha 5-1. Partisan affiliation isn’t always a measure of intellectual conformity, but it is indicative.
Most Americans have read about professors denied tenure for their political views or visiting speakers shouted down. Students too often feel obliged to self-censor for social as well as academic reasons, and those who do speak know they can face harassment on social media as well as disciplinary action for words that offend dominant political sensibilities.
In 2015 the University of Chicago committed itself to freedom of expression on campus, and dozens of universities, including Columbia, Smith and Princeton, signed on to the Chicago Statement. Many have failed to live up to it, notably Princeton with its mistreatment of former classics professor Joshua Katz.
In their new experiment, UNC will have students debate openly. “I don’t want to indoctrinate on the right anymore than I want to indoctrinate on the left,” says Mr. Preyer.
U.S. post-secondary education was once a great American cultural and competitive advantage, but it has deteriorated as progressive views and increasingly abstruse woke politics have taken over schools and departments. Too many university presidents and boards have surrendered rather than speak up, even when core American principles like free speech are trampled on.
Credit to the UNC board for fighting for those principles and free inquiry. North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation’s oldest public university, and if change can happen there, maybe it can happen anywhere.