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January 18, 2022

Institution Seeks to Foster 'Dynamic Conversations'

In November, a group of notable professors banded together to launch an ambitious project: the founding of a new university that would be built on the constitutional, American right to free speech. Citing academia’s growing problem with cancel culture for both professors and students who dare to voice unpopular opinions, the University of Austin aims to be an institution that fosters dynamic conversations around controversial topics, welcoming and creating a space for argument and dissent from cultural narratives in hopes of retrieving what much of American academia has lost: true freedom of speech. 


1 austin bigBut is the dream too good to be true? In this episode of The Argument, a New York Times podcast, Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education (FIRE) Greg Lukianoff, and host Jane Coaston discuss the “First Amendment problem” at today’s universities and whether or not the University of Austin will be able to right what seems to be going wrong. 


The major red flag for Lukianoff is whether or not the very people who desire to create an environment of free speech will be able to escape the ideological bubbles they inhabit. “The situation for free speech on campus is much worse than you think. And of course, we’re disproportionately reliant on these schools like Harvard and Yale or where Professor Copelovitch attended, that, for example, only about 3 percent of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard is conservative. So I’m mentioning that to say, first of all, there’s pretty low amounts of viewpoint diversity at a place like Harvard to begin with,” says Lukianoff. 


Christian Union cares deeply about the freedom of speech in America. As students are discipled by predominant ways of thinking and seeing the world in university, creating spaces for students to hear not merely the dominant voice of culture in college but also a faithful, biblical witness to human anthropology, suffering, purpose, and more is critical to the mission of Christian Union and Christians everywhere. 


Listen to the full podcast here.