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Reclaim Academic Freedom

September 26, 2023

Colleges are enthralled with diversity, equity, and inclusion ideology. It’s not just the bureaucratic commissars some red-state leaders are finally defunding. Nor is it that college professors are hired and promoted based on their adherence to DEI ideology. This neo-Marxist ideology is insinuating itself evermore into courses and graduation requirements. Any sign of pushback from legislators is labeled an attack on “academic freedom.”

Too many conservative legislators still feel intimidated by college professors. They shouldn’t. The language shell game is too transparent, and the ideology advanced underneath it too vapid and corrosive, to be due any deference. The Left no longer believes in “academic freedom” as normal people understand it: the freedom of professors to set their own research, publication, and teaching agenda. Rather, what the Left means by “academic freedom” is total freedom to control higher education . Anything that advances the Left’s control is good. Anything that threatens it is a threat to “academic freedom.”

This explains why you’ll never see anyone on the Left labeling the use of “diversity statements” to screen out conservative candidates as a threat to academic freedom. It explains why the Left doesn’t consider efforts to force professors to “diversify” their syllabuses a threat to academic freedom. It explains why it doesn’t consider the institutionalization of campus thought police through so-called “bias-reporting systems” a threat to academic freedom.

Read the rest of the op-ed at the Washington Examiner.

Matt Beienburg  is the director of education policy at the Goldwater Institute. He also serves as director of the institute’s Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy.



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