We are a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.
We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.
To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.
Recent Blog Posts
At a New York University debate, Shikha Dalmia made the case for preserving free speech on campuses, and in the United States more broadly. She debated Jeremy Waldron, author of “The Harm of Hate Speech.” Dalmia published an excerpt from her side of the debate here.
Glenn Loury was interviewed on what the campus conversation on race gets right and what it gets wrong.Read more →
Heterodox Academy is proud to launch our online shop with shirts, mugs, stickers, buttons and other swag to help support and promote viewpoint diversity on campus. While there is a high variety of items, the cost is low to make them available to anyone who is looking to support free speech, free inquiry and free expression in higher education.
Looking for additional ways to get involved with Heterodox Academy?Help make your school a Heterodox University/College Share our College Care Pack with new students Apply to join our collaboration (tenured professors only at this time) Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter Read more →
Do you have any friends or family members who are just starting college this fall? If so, Heterodox Academy’s “College Care Pack” is a useful resource to share.
Bringing the right attitude — including a spirit of curiosity about other perspectives, and humility about one’s own knowledge — will help promote viewpoint diversity and enable students to get the most out of college.Read more →
The New York Times hosted a debate about whether trigger warnings work, with debaters Elena Newman of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Sofie Karasek of End Rape on Campus, and Richard J. McNally, author of Remembering Trauma.
At Academe Blog, John K. Wilson writes about a troubling development at UC-Berkeley. Dean Carla Hesse cancelled a class on Palestine due to external political pressure and blamed the cancellation on an ostensible violation of policies even though no such violation occurred.
New research by Jean Twenge and colleagues shows that high school seniors today are more likely to identify as politically independent, rather than Democratic or Republican, and more likely to identify as conservative compared... Read more →
As part of our one year anniversary celebration, we engaged our membership to envision how the academy might look in 2025. We got a lot of engaging and interesting responses from a range of perspectives, reflecting the diversity in political affiliations of our members.
Turning our attention to our readership, we brainstormed how to provide a way to show support for viewpoint diversity. Then it hit us: Offer a badge for posting on social media, office doors, cubicles and meeting rooms!
So, we proudly present the Heterodox Academy Viewpoint Diversity Badge. Click the link to download web and print versions and learn about a fun way to broadcast your support.
Read more →
Heterodox Academy turns one year old today. To mark the occasion, we’re publishing our members’ answers to a simple question: "What change would you like to see in universities or in your academic field by 2025?". Our membership is politically diverse, but as you'll see below, we have a widely shared desire to protect and restore norms of vigorous and civil disagreement. We want everyone to be able to speak up, and our members offer a variety of suggestions for strengthening freedom of inquiry and norms of good scholarship. Steve Pinker, Nadine Strossen, Glenn Loury, Rick Shweder, Phil Tetlock, and more... Read more →
Brown University and Claremont McKenna College joined the University of Chicago in defending the importance of free speech. DePaul University went further by organizing a year-long series of speeches to discuss race and free speech. The series “will offer perspectives across the political spectrum on various topics including race, free speech and hate speech, and the current political climate.”
Greg Lukianoff responded to Jim Sleeper’s New York Times editorial, which falsely accused Lukianoff and FIRE of wrongdoing. And Nick Gillespie responded to Sleeper’s accusation that the free market created political correctness. (UPDATE, Sep. 14: See Jim Sleeper’s comment below.)
Heterodox Academy members Jonathan Zimmerman published an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Diversity, not dogma, on college campuses.”
Heterodox Academy celebrates its 1st anniversary tomorrow. Our inaugural blog post was published on September 10 last year and our second post, on September 14, was a summary of the big review paper about political diversity in psychology. Tomorrow, we’re publishing... Read more →
This is a guest post by Professor Aaron Kindsvatter, associate professor at the College of Education, University of Vermont. Earlier this year, I read that at Northern Colorado University conversations about gender identity were shut down to spare the feelings of a student who was offended. Moreover, the professor overseeing the class was investigated by the Northern Colorado University Bias Response Team. I believe that open discussions about gender identity are necessary to decrease hostility against sexual minorities, because prejudicial beliefs can be interrogated rather than be suppressed, and was disappointed that such discussions were being shut down. Upon checking the bias response policy at my own university, the University of Vermont, I felt compelled to write the following open letter. Read more →
Also in The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes about how the fear of reprisals led to the cancellation at Syracuse of a screening of The Settlers, a documentary about the religious settler movement in the West Bank. Friedersdorf also published this appraisal of the Chicago letter.
Iowa State renamed the area of their campus known as “the free speech zone” to Agora, which means public gathering place. This change makes it clear that the entire campus is, in fact, a free speech zone.
Finally, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Chancellor gave mixed messages to students about whether the campus supports or does not support free speech.
At Heterodox Academy, Jonathan Haidt published a Back-To-School video playlist for first-year college students.Read more →
Do you want to get the most out of your college experience and emerge smarter, emotionally stronger, and more self-sufficient when you graduate? Then be sure to watch these three videos. Read more →
Law professor Geoffrey R. Stone covers the history of threats to free speech, and opines on how recent campus controversies should have been handled.
Science writer Maria Konnikova contests the purported findings that personality traits cause political attitudes.
In a letter to new students, the University of Chicago dean John (Jay) Ellison declared that the university does not support trigger warnings or condone safe spaces. Jesse Singal explains the national context behind this letter. You can find other praise and criticism here.Read more →
In 1988 Frank Smith made an interesting observation. He realized that what children learned was not the result of formal instruction. A teacher, even a very good teacher, seemed to have limited influence on what was or was not picked-up by students: Two students could be in all the same classes and one might develop correct grammar while another might not.
So what caused one student to learn more or less than the other if they both had the same teachers? According to Smith, the students didn’t really learn through instruction or even conscious emulation. Instead, they acquired the characteristics of people they considered themselves to be like. It was this sense of “joining the club” that seemed to account for the students’ learning. So what really made the difference between whether Jayden or Olivia learned grammar was... Read more →
Calling all college students: Do you love the intellectual climate on your campus? Or do you sometimes wish that a broader range of viewpoints was represented in the classroom, and by invited speakers? Heterodox Academy is launching an initiative to assist students who want greater viewpoint diversity on campus. Working with students at several universities, we have drafted three short resolutions that you can use or modify as you please. If you would like to reduce political orthodoxy at your school, then please consider introducing a resolution to your student government to declare your school a “Heterodox University.” The first school to do so will earn a great deal of positive media attention, attract a much larger number of applicants, and gain a national reputation for independent thinking. It will also have a much more open and exciting intellectual climate. Read more →
In The Atlantic, Emily Deruy describes about selective segregation on campus in light the now retracted course at Moraine Valley Community College that was exclusively for black students.
Exemplifying how not to improve viewpoint diversity, Milo Yiannopoulos collected money for a promised college scholarship for white males but deposited all the money in his personal account.
I was interviewed about heterodoxy and viewpoint diversity by The Best Schools, a guide to higher education.
The British site Spiked Online published a satirical fresher’s guide to free speech on campus.
Ravi Iyer, the executive director of civilpolitics.org, wrote about which attitudes change and which attitudes remain the same after debates about the tension between free speech and sensitivity to minorities.
In the past week, we published a blog post about a possible connection between a rise in campus protests and the drop in alumni donations.
Read more →
Heterodox Academy was founded at a time during which issues of free speech and censorship were playing out on college campuses nationwide. While we appreciated the issues being brought to the table, many of us also marveled at the hostile and exclusionary methods used to bring them into focus. As it turns out, so did many alumni who have since decreased their support to many universities where these protests and requests for censorship were taking place.
In a recent New York Times article “College Students Protest, Alumni’s Fondness Fades and Checks Shrink,” Anemona Hartocollis writes about the backlash from alumni as “an unexpected aftershock of the campus disruptions of the last academic year.” More than just a reaction, this is a repudiation of the tactics used by students and of the capitulation by administrators.
From the piece:
Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by... Read more →
And Hamilton College instituted a new diversity requirement. At Inside Higher Ed, Colleen Flaherty reviews faculty reactions to this change.
Read more →
As political events in Europe and America got stranger and more violent over the last year, I found myself thinking of the phrase “things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”... As Yeats said, much of the problem is that "the worst are full of passionate intensity." I used this phrase as the leitmotif of a talk I gave last week at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, in Denver where I offered my most complete statement yet on the causes and consequences of political polarization. I focused on the causes of America’s political dysfunction and then extended the analysis to Europe as well. Something is going wrong in Western liberal democracies; there is something we’re not understanding. But as long as I had the opportunity to address the largest gathering of psychologists in the world, I wanted to extend the analysis to psychology too. I showed how we, as a field, have gotten politically polarized, as with so many other academic disciplines and so many other professions and institutions. We have become part of the problem, and it is damaging our science and our ability to help our clients, patients, and students. I proposed that we must fix ourselves before we can become part of the solution. [Full video: 54 minutes] Read more →
The Chicago Tribune has an editorial about free-speech battles at DePaul University, where the former president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, staked out a free-speech position while also apologizing for the consequences of certain speeches.
Today’s New York Times has a report on how alumni donations have been waning in the wake of college protests. Although their analysis only draws from 35 small, selective liberal-arts colleges, they find a general decline in the number of donors from 2015 to 2016.
The New York Times also reviewed the history of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), from its founding in 1999 through the current decade.Read more →
Heterodox Academy began in September 2015 as a collaboration of 25 professors who were actively studying and writing about viewpoint diversity in the social sciences. In our first 9 months we produced 112 blog posts that attracted 350,000 readers to the site.
Along the way we got many requests from other professors who wanted to join, even though they were not studying viewpoint diversity directly. At the same time, the climate for free speech on many campuses seems to have worsened. And not just in America, but in the UK and Australia as well. In response, we decided to open up membership to any tenured professor in any field who is willing to endorse this statement:
“I believe that university life requires that people with diverse viewpoints and perspectives encounter each other in an environment where they feel free to speak up and challenge each other. I am... Read more →
FIRE intern and student activist Erin Dunne advocated for drug reform and marijuana legalization at the University of Michigan. As a result she was fired from Residence Staff. Dunne writes about how this experience helped her gain appreciation for freedom of speech.
California State University, Los Angeles, changed its speech code to avoid a lawsuit in which CSULA was accused of limiting free speech by adding a security fee for controversial speakers. In another victory for free speech, Danny LeDonne (and ACLU) won a suit against his former employer Adams State University, who characterized his criticism of the university as “harassment” and “terrorism.
Finally, there’s little transparency in the work of bias response teams, but here’s a transcript of a bias response team conversation with a censored professor at the University of Northern Colorado. The professor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “We had a cordial visit, but Parks [the administrator] definitely used... Read more →
To increase viewpoint diversity in the academy, with a special focus on the social sciences.
Heterodox Academy is Now Open to All Tenured Professors