There Is Hope: They Stopped Complaining About The US’s Broken Higher Education System, And Did Something About It…[Corrected]

U of Austin

A group of distinguished scholars, iconoclasts and activists, alarmed “by the illiberalism and censoriousness prevalent in America’s most prestigious universities,”will establish a new university dedicated to free speech.”

It will be called the University of Austin, or UATX. Next summer the project will begin modestly with “Forbidden Courses,” a noncredit program designed to offer a “spirited discussion about the most provocative questions that often lead to censorship or self-censorship in many universities.” The next phase will be masters programs and if all goes well, undergraduate degrees will follow.

The campus, a real one, not a virtual campus, will be set in the Austin, Texas, area. The new university’s president is Pano Kanelos, the former president of St. John’s College in Annapolis. Several famous dissenters from the current culture of woke conformity and campus censorship that has poisoned the university experience in the U.S. led him to this point. Bari Weiss, the exiled Opinion editor for The New York Times; historian Niall Ferguson of the Hoover Institution; Heather Heying, an evolutionary biologist; Joe Lonsdale, a technology entrepreneur and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, the data analytics firm; Lawrence H. Summers, the former Harvard president; Steven Pinker, a Harvard linguist and psychologist; David Mamet, the playwright; and Glenn Loury, an economist at Brown are among those involved.

Naturally, the enterprise has been scorched on social media by students and professors who are dedicated to crushing non-conforming ideas rather than nurturing them.

The university thought it would need six months or more to raise the $10 million in seed money needed for strategic planning and start-up programs. The target amount was raised in just six weeks. The new goal is $250 million. Among other aspects of the school’s mission, the University of Austin will work to create an affordable education, with a yearly tuition of $30,000 or less.

Dr. Pinker, the provocative Harvard professor who will serve on the Board of Advisors, says, “I think new models for a university are important because current universities are locked into a strange business model: exorbitant tuition, a mushrooming bureaucracy, and obscure admissions policies that are neither meritocratic nor egalitarian, combined with plummeting intellectual diversity and tolerance for open inquiry (which is, after all, a university’s raison d’être).”

I suppose “strange” is one word for it. Read the new university’s new presidents’ article about the project here.

I urge everyone to find ways to support this crucial effort, I plan to. Next job: creating a hundred new schools with similar missions.

There is hope.

13 thoughts on “There Is Hope: They Stopped Complaining About The US’s Broken Higher Education System, And Did Something About It…[Corrected]

  1. If I didn’t already have the degrees I want, I would consider going here just to help it get off the ground. Even in 2005 when I went to college, there was much more robust debate (even though the majority of profs were still left). Something has changed.

  2. nexy

    Don’t change. Define it.
    … The next sexy step in a process as in “the next phase”, esp. when applied to a revolution against the great stupid.

  3. I’ve reached out to them. I’ll definitely give them some money. I hope the campus is spartan by today’s standards. No indoor rock climbing walls. No Starbucks. Guys dorms and girls dorms. No diversity administrators. No safe spaces.

    I wonder why the guy from Hillsdale is joining. Isn’t Hillsdale okay?

    I wish they hadn’t picked a depressingly smug, lefty town such as Austin. I asked their development guy about that and he said they are going to “take back Austin” and “it’s where lots of entrepreneurs are located.” Hmm. I worry Austin is simply too woke a place to try this. I fear Austin will crush the place.

    • They should buy a campus from some failing college. Maybe they’ve targeted a failing school in Austin for purchase. There have to be tons of campuses available for the asking.

  4. Austin is the state capital and the home of University of Texas – Austin, and some small colleges. Austin is very liberal but the surrounding areas tend to be more conservative. I suspect that the UT resources and land values it doesn’t surprise me they would focus on Austin.


  5. >Next job: creating a hundred new schools with similar missions.

    I’m all in for similar efforts, and would personally support one near my geographic location by teaching a free class or something. Will happily send my kids to one of those.

  6. I think the University of Austin could use a great ethicist professor to help teach students in the finer points of ethics to round out their college education. I bet there is grant money out there to support the program. Heck, maybe they could start an Undergraduate and Masters degree program specifically devoted to ethics and even offer scholarships to ethically outstanding High School graduates.

    Does anyone around here know of someone that could teach the ethics classes?

    Things that make you go, Hmmmmmmm………

    • I contacted the University of Austin directly and offered a suggestion…

      Please offer mandatory ethics courses for your students and at least consider an undergraduate degree program that focuses on ethics in the 21st century. I think mandatory basic ethical training is something that is needed in college level education that could be a valuable tool for students to take into their working world after graduation. Undergraduate degree programs in Ethics could give graduates the ability to walk into the business and political worlds fully capable of guiding others in ethical behaviors and decisions which is something that is sorely needed in the 21st century.

      I can personally recommend Jack Marshall of Pro Ethics, Ltd.. and Ethics Alarms, which is an ethics commentary blog on current events and issues, as a fabulous source to assist you in your quest to create a better college environment for your students and better prepare them for the world around them.

      If they’re going to start this new University, they might as well build it from the ground up with a strong ethical foundation.

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