National Free Speech News & Commentary

Commentary: Jon Haidt goes after DEI [Includes Update and Correction]

February 10, 2024 1 min read

Jerry Coyne
Why Evolution is True

Excerpt: Now social psychologist Jon Haidt, who cofounded Heterodox Academy, has come out against DEI as well. Previously he kept pretty quiet on the issue, though he often spoke out favoring the pursuit of truth over the pursuit of social justice as the mission of a university. But now he’s at bat against DEI in the UnHerd article below (click to read). Note the strong title: abolishing DEI will “save academia.”

UPDATE: Jon Haidt has commented below (comment #19) and notes that the UnHerd characterization of his talk is incorrect; in particular he doesn’t oppose students chanting “Intifada” and “From the River to the Sea,”  but (like me) deplores the hypocrisy of punishing some speech and not other speech.
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Penn Political Union hosts panel discussing free speech, guest speaker regulation in university setting

February 09, 2024 1 min read

Stella Lee and Annalisa Fang
Daily Pennsylvanian

Excerpt: Penn Political Union hosted a discussion with political science professor Ian Lustick discussing free speech and the criteria for guest speakers in a university setting.

Penn Political Union president and College sophomore Mia Antonacci moderated the event, focusing on the question of whether it is “appropriate to prohibit individuals from speaking at a university based on the falsehood of their statements.” Around 30 people attended the discussion on Feb. 7, which took place at the Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.
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Commentary: My Colleagues Stayed Silent When Oct. 7 Was Called a ‘Beautiful Day’

February 08, 2024 1 min read

Deborah Gerhardt
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: It’s been a challenging time for Jewish students and faculty across our nation. Antisemitic incidents on campuses have increased; protesters we encounter on our paths to class chant hateful words or tear down notices about Israeli hostages, students disrupt speakers instead of listening, and faculty members worry we may find antisemitic greetings on the whiteboards in our classrooms. It can be hard to see where to find a friend or ally.

Jews are tough. The need to hide or flee to escape hatred has plagued us historically. But living with socially acceptable hate among those we thought shared our values— taking punch after punch when we’re already licking painful wounds—is new for many of us.
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Commentary: In Defense of Melissa Goldberg and Academic Freedom at Catholic Colleges

February 08, 2024 1 min read

John K. Wilson
Academe Blog

Excerpt: Last week, the Catholic University of America (CUA) fired psychology professor Melissa Goldberg one week after she invited doula Rachel Carbonneau to address her class, Psychology 379: Lifespan Development. Doulas coach women during the birthing process, and Carbonneau discussed helping “birthing persons” deal with having abortions and assisting transgender men. One student called the discussion “really upsetting” and turned over a recording to the right-wing website The Daily Signal, which ran a Jan. 26 story with the headline: “SHOCKING: Catholic University Brought in ‘Abortion Doula’ Who Coaches ‘Pregnant Men’ Through Giving Birth.”

CUA immediately declared it was “appalled” by Carbonneau and banned her from speaking on campus, and then over one weekend, CUA completed their investigation and dismissed Goldberg.
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Academia and the Anxious Generation: How Universities Lost the Trust of America with Jonathan Haidt

February 08, 2024 1 min read

UNC Alumni Free Speech Alliance

Excerpt: Join UNC AFSA, the Student Free Speech Alliance, Heterodox Heels and the UNC Program for Public Discourse for an enlightening evening with renowned social psychologist and professor Jonathan Haidt. Dr. Haidt will discuss dynamics that are reshaping university campuses, explore America's dwindling trust in higher education, and offer suggestions as to what academic institutions must do to regain society’s confidence.
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Frustrated U. of Utah faculty say state’s anti-DEI measure is already having a ‘chilling effect’

February 07, 2024 1 min read

Courtney Tanner
Salt Lake Tribune

University of Utah faculty vented their frustrations Monday over the state’s rollback of diversity efforts across public education — with one professor saying it’s “planting the flag of hatred” and another suggesting the school’s president should have done more to fight the legislation.
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