How Can Universities Reform Themselves to Protect Open Inquiry on Campus?

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Heterodox Academy


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Disagreement can lead to deeper learning and better research — or to narrowed thinking, polarization, and intimidation. Constructive disagreement, from the classroom to the quad to the faculty lounge, is a core value at HxA.

Academic institutions have a duty to cultivate constructive disagreement, through skills and norms such as curiosity, humility, respectful dialogue, charitable listening, and appeals to evidence and reason. These practices are especially important to the education of students, who deserve to be well prepared for the exchange of ideas on campus, in the workplace, and as part of a democracy.

Constructive disagreement is not consistent with shout-downs and intimidation, nor does it require polite silence or careless compromise. Instead, the practice of constructive disagreement shows respect through the rigorous examination of ideas and assumptions, including one’s own.

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