Go to top

THE BLOG

academic freedom

Measuring Academic Freedom and Intellectual Diversity

Whenever a university claims commitment to academic excellence, critical thinking, research productivity, career preparation, innovation, diversity and inclusion or academic freedom, there is a legitimate question about whether these terms are just fashionable slogans or actual campus characteristics.  Definitions and measurement are key. Reliable and relevant data are necessary. For example, if a university claimed..

An Institution Can Lean Left Without Excluding the Right

Sarah Lawrence College has struggled with questions of free speech and genuine intellectual and ideological diversity over the past year. In the fall of 2018, I published  an op-ed in the New York Times which argued that the extracurricular programming and the ever-growing group of college administrators at Sarah Lawrence College was ideologically lopsided to..

orthodoxy

On Orthodoxy at the Heterodox Academy Conference

I had the good fortune to be able to attend the 2019 Heterodox Academy conference. In many ways it was a glittering event featuring intellectual supernovas, like Jonathan Haidt and Steven Pinker. David Brooks, of the New York Times and the Aspen Institute gave a wonderful and inspiring defense of universities.  Coleman Hughes, a Columbia..

2019 directors address

2019 HxA Director’s Address

These remarks were offered at the 2nd annual Heterodox Academy conference, held June 20-1 2019 in New York City. Heterodox Academy held its first annual conference one year ago.  I took the stage having made a cross-country move with my 8-year-old in tow just two weeks prior. It’s been a year of transition and growth,..

free speech debate

What the “Free Speech” Debate is Still Missing

The question of, “is there a campus free speech crisis?” is fraught. The answer depends, in large part, on the evidence one uses to answer it. In most commentary so far, the metrics used to measure political tolerance on campus are at best incomplete and at worst misleading. Our collective attention is drawn to overt..

diversity

‘Viewpoint Diversity’ is About Much More than Politics

It is often said that the academy is dominated by the left. There is certainly a sense in which that is true. In terms of ideological self-identification, for instance, students, faculty and administrators trend decisively left (in ascending order of political homogeneity). However, this narrative is also a bit simplistic. First, because ideological self-identification is..

disrupting peer review

What Is the Purpose of Peer Review?

Academic researchers have grown accustomed to a world in which small cliques dominate certain journals, and with it establish back channels that benefit themselves, their friends, and their students. Hence the (empirically verified) adage that science proceeds one funeral at a time. In some fields, political posturing often seems indistinguishable from scholarship, unpopular ideas are..

campus craziness mayer

Constructing ‘Campus Craziness’

Maybe you have heard of it, or seen it. You should be aware of it, since its affecting how college campuses are viewed by the public. It’s a branded Fox News segment, “Campus Craziness.” The segment has some variation – snowflake students, liberal professors, deplatformed speakers – but the core message is the same: conservatives..

patronage politics

The Political Perils of Academic Patronage: GMU as a Case Study

In 1553, Michel de Villeneuve (better known as Michael Servetus) published Christianismi Restitutio. Hounded out of research at the University of Paris for anti-orthodox views and personal grievances, Villeneuve was entirely dependent on the support of Pierre Palmier, Archbishop of Vienne. Palmier’s support withdrawn, nearly every available copy of The Restoration of Christianity was burned...