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On Social Power Dynamics in Political Discourse

Amy Wax’s reaction is characteristic of a what appears to be a conservative reluctance to understand why right-leaning views are so unwelcome on college campuses. While I am deeply concerned about the dearth of viewpoint diversity at our universities, I think the failure to understand the “roots of leftist rage” will only exacerbate polarization and make dialogue more difficult.

The Skeptics Are Wrong Part 2: Speech Culture on Campus is Changing

In this essay we show that the skeptics went wrong by basing their case primarily on GSS data about members of the Millennial generation. We explain why the debate hinges not on Millennials but on the generation after them––iGen, or Gen Z, who began replacing Millennials in college in 2013. We draw on a variety of datasets to show that iGen is different, and that there is indeed reason for concern that things are changing on campus. We address three questions: 1) Is the speech climate (i.e., willingness to speak up) worsening on college campuses, overall, in recent years? We show that it is. 2) Is there a “politically correct” range of viewpoints on campus? We show that there is. 3) Which side of the spectrum is more willing to use illiberal tactics? We show that left and right used to be similar, before 2015, in their desire to “disinvite” speakers, but since 2015 the right has used that tactic much less often while the left has used it much more often, and has also conducted all of the shout-downs that have occurred since 2015.  In conclusion, the skeptics are wrong.

A Tale of Two Columbia Classes

Of the seven philosophy courses I’ve taken at Columbia so far, not a single one has operated even close to this way––philosophy professors are always the first to point out logical weaknesses, strong counterarguments, and alternative points of view, even when they fundamentally agree with the course material. In this class, I got the sense that the professor was wedded to the material, such that a critique of the material would have been synonymous with a critique of her. As hyperbolic as this might sound, voicing a strong pushback against any idea that the Professor favored was nearly unthinkable.

The Campus Expression Survey: Summary of New Data

By Sean Stevens, HxA’s Research Director Back in July, I presented some preliminary data from our Campus Expression Survey (CES).  The CES was developed by members1 of Heterodox Academy in response to students and professors who say they feel like they are “walking on eggshells”, not just in the classroom but in informal interactions on campus..

Zachary Wood’s Quest for Political Diversity at Williams

Zachary Wood, President of Uncomfortable Learning (a group that invites controversial speakers to campus) and member of the Class of 2018 at Williams College, delivered compelling testimony on the value of free speech and viewpoint diversity in the academy at this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses.” Wood, a self-described “liberal Democrat who supports many progressive causes” sees higher education as an opportunity for “students…to engage with people and ideas they vehemently disagree with.” His full testimony is in the video below.