Heterodox Academy (HxA) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) livestreamed and hosted a panel discussion in front of a packed audience last night at New York University. The discussion focused on the decline in viewpoint diversity in higher education and its impact on the quality of research, scholarship, education, as well as its consequences for American democracy.

HxA member panelists included:

Jonathan Haidt, HxA co-founder and NYU professor, provided introductory remarks; Nico Perrino, FIRE’s Director of Communications, moderated the conversation. The panel was recorded for an episode of FIRE’s So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast scheduled for release on Thursday, October 19.

You can watch the full panel here:

Jon Haidt offered the following comments as part of his introductory remarks:

“In 2017, we’re seeing many more cases of actual physical violence used in response to words on campus, and we’re seeing more agreement among college students that words are ‘violence,’ and, therefore, violence is an appropriate response to the possibility that someone might say certain words on campus. So this is where we are now in the academic world, and this is what we’ve come here tonight to talk about: What on earth is going on? How did this happen? How did we get here? And what can we do to break this cycle to reduce the fear and to help American universities return to their historic missions of education and research?”

Selected quotations from panelists are below:

  • “Everyone perceives there to be less political freedom when tolerance starts to decline.” — April Kelly-Woessner
  • “One person’s hate speech is another person’s cherished speech.” — Nadine Strossen
  • “The model of what it means to be political has changed. We are seeing the political fruit of this development.” — Mark Lilla
  • “I took my students to a Donald Trump rally. They should learn, engage, and grow.” — Samuel Abrams

Opinions expressed are those of the author(s). Publication does not imply endorsement by Heterodox Academy or any of its members. We welcome your comments below. Feel free to challenge and disagree, but please try to model the sort of respectful and constructive criticism that makes viewpoint diversity most valuable. Comments that include obscenity or aggression are likely to be deleted.