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THE BLOG

New HxA Member Interview Video

Heterodox Academy has quickly grown from a small group of roughly a dozen professors to more than 1,700 as of early January 2018. Over the summer of 2017, we interviewed select members about their motivations to join the organization and the issues that arise in climates of orthodoxy on campus. The goal was to present,..

Nick Phillips: Conservatives are passing laws requiring public universities to protect free speech. It’s probably a bad idea

So what do these bills do? They reinforce the message that when a community is having trouble navigating competing truth claims, you go outside the community and find an authority figure to put their foot down. The social justice set will get the message. They’ll make sure to have bills of their own at the ready for the next time they get control of a state legislature, and they’ll design administrative countermeasures to resist at the campus level. This is a recipe for polarized stalemate in our divided country.

An Interview with John McWhorter about Politics and Protest

I interviewed John McWhorter recently. That interview was supposed to be episode 17 of Half Hour of Heterodoxy. I recorded the interview using an app that has worked very well in the past. Unfortunately, it failed me this time; the audio quality of this recording was extremely poor. Instead of releasing the interview as a..

Professors Must Now Fear Intimidation From Both Sides

The string of recent cases in which professors have been fired, sanctioned, or placed on leave by their universities in response to public outrage generated by right-wing media sites is an alarming turn of events for the academy and for the country….
I’d like to close with a simple request to university leaders: Please stop giving in to mobs and their demands. It may seem like the easy way out of your predicament in the moment, but it encourages more mobs to form in the future – student mobs on campus, and right-wing internet mobs off campus.

A Second Evergreen Professor Speaks Out

This blog post contains the text of an email sent out on June 1 by Mike Paros, a professor of biology and veterinary medicine at Evergreen State College. So far, Paros is the only faculty member at Evergreen State College who has spoken out publicly in support of Bret Weinstein. (If you don’t know the background on the case, read this first.) In contrast to Paros, more than 50 professors at Evergreen have signed a letter demanding a “disciplinary investigation” of Weinstein. Paros and Weinstein are both members of Heterodox Academy.

Paros sent the text of this email to the Evergreen staff and faculty email list on June 1. Since then he has tried to get it published in local newspapers, as his statement of support for Weinstein, but with no success. So we are publishing it here at Heterodox Academy as a show of support for Weinstein, Paros, and the right of faculty everywhere to question administrative policies in a reasoned and respectful way, as Weinstein did.

Free Inquiry on Campus: A Statement of Principles by a Collection of Middlebury Faculty

The statement below has been signed by 53 professors at Middlebury College (UPDATE 3/9: the total is now 89 professors, one emeritus college mental health professional, and one writer-in-residence) and it will be updated with new signatures through March 11. The signatories come from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. I agree with all of the..

Campus Speaker Disinvitations: Recent Trends (Part 2 of 2)

We are a little over a month into 2017 and already last year’s disinvitation outlier, Milo Yiannopoulos, has spurred a number of disinvitation attempts and event disruptions (see here, here, here, and here). Worse still is that violence has erupted at some of these events, including a shooting in Seattle and riots on the University of California’s Berkeley campus.

Given the current confrontational campus climate, part 2 of this blog looks at the actual effectiveness of politically motivated speaker disinvitation attempts. These analyses revealed that speaker disinvitation attempts from 2000 to 2016 came primarily from the left of the speaker and occurred most often for controversies over racial issues, views on sexual orientation, and views on Islam.

Campus Speaker Disinvitations: Recent trends (Part 1 of 2)

It happened frequently in 2016- a college club or the school administration invites a speaker but due to pressures from student groups or day-of protests, the event is cancelled and the speaker forced to find alternative venues or issue an apology to disappointed audience members.

FIRE recently reported that 2016 featured a record number of disinvitations to speakers from colleges and universities, 46 in total. The previous record of 34 was set in 2013. Such a figure bolsters the case that free speech is being increasingly restricted on college campuses. Yet, a closer inspection reveals that 14 of the 46 disinvitation attempts in 2016 focused on a single target, Milo Yiannopoulos. This suggests that 2016’s record number of disinvitation attempts may not be indicative of an increased level of assault on free speech on college campuses, because the record-setting number may have been driven by one outlier.

Fortunately, FIRE maintains a database documenting speaker disinvitation attempts on college campuses starting in the year 2000, allowing for a deeper investigation into campus disinvitation attempts.

This is the first of a two-part series on FIRE’s disinvitation data. This post focuses on basic exploratory analyses. Part two focuses on the political motivations behind the disinvitation attempts.