Commentary: Focus on the Research, Not the Researcher

May 01, 2023 1 min read

Commentary: Focus on the Research, Not the Researcher

by Sally Satel, Persuasion

A foundational principle of truth-seeking is the norm of universalism: the concept that work must be judged on its own merits.

When this principle is applied to academic journals, it means that the studies—the hypotheses being tested, methods used, and interpretations presented—should speak for themselves.  But authors are now distorting that process with so-called “positionality statements.” These disclosures are included in the body of research papers and describe personal attributes of the authors, like their identities, experiences, and societal advantages.


Leave a comment


Also in National Free Speech News & Commentary

Commentary: Abolish DEI Statements

April 18, 2024 1 min read

Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic

Excerpt: This month, Professor Randall L. Kennedy, an eminent scholar of race and civil rights, published an op-ed in The Harvard Crimson denouncing the use of diversity, equity, and inclusion statements in academic hiring. “I am a scholar on the left committed to struggles for social justice,” he wrote. “The realities surrounding mandatory DEI statements, however, make me wince.” But a “contrasting perspective” on diversity statements that the Crimson published argued that “furor over diversity statements in hiring is a red herring.”

But people who see the flaws of the status quo should not be seduced by the illusion that tweaking how DEI statements are solicited or scored is a solution. In fact, interviewing Hall, the ostensible reformer in the Harvard Crimson debate, left me more convinced that abolishing DEI statements is the best way forward.
Read More
Columbia President Weathers Grilling Over Campus Antisemitism

April 18, 2024 1 min read

Katherine Knott and Jessica Blake
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Columbia University President Minouche Shafik carefully and repeatedly condemned antisemitism over the course of a nearly four-hour appearance before Congress on Wednesday. She denounced the speech and actions of some pro-Palestinian professors and student protesters. She made clear under questioning that she considers the oft-changed slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” to be antisemitic, though she noted that other people don’t hear it as such.

But judging from the responses she received from Republicans on the House education committee, none of that might be enough to keep Shafik or Columbia—or its faculty members—from further Congressional scrutiny.
Read More
Letter from President Saller and Provost Martinez to Class of 2028

April 18, 2024 1 min read

Letter Reposted by Stanford Alumni for Free Speech and Critical Thinking

Excerpt: A copy of a letter sent by Stanford President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez to students who have been admitted as freshmen for this coming fall has now been made available publicly.

We believe this is a very powerful statement about free speech, critical thinking and what should be expected in an academic community, not just at Stanford but nationwide. We urge readers to take a look and even consider forwarding it to other interested parties.
Read More