ON-Lion Letter
What is the status of academic freedom in the nation’s colleges and universities today?  Headlines are filled with stories of students calling for trigger warnings and safe spaces, while university administrators in schools across the country have issued speech codes that often violate the protections of the First Amendment.  Given these concerning trends, the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, the National Association of Scholars (NAS), and First Things Magazine recognized the need for a thoughtful and probing discussion of the right of scholars to seek the truth without fear of retribution.

Together they sponsored a panel entitled, “Academic Freedom in the Age of Political Correctness,” to discuss these concerns as they are brought to light in a report of the same name issued by the Pope Center’s director of policy analysis, Jay Schalin.  In his report, Schalin argues that the health of the modern American university depends on deciding the proper limits, checks, and balances of scholarly inquiry, teaching, and commentary in academia.  

The panel discussion was held at the office of First Things on October 5th.  The panelists included Schalin, as well as Peter Wood, the president of NAS and author of the re[port, "The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom"; KC Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College; and Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University and senior editor at First Things, who served as the moderator.

The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is a nonprofit institute dedicated to improving higher education in North Carolina and the nation by increasing the diversity of ideas discussed on campus, encouraging respect for freedom, improving student learning, and lowering the cost of education.

The National Association of Scholars is a network of scholars and citizens united by their commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education.  NAS publishes the quarterly journal Academic Questions, it issues studies that examine curricula and other aspects of higher education policy and practice, and it sponsors national and regional meetings that focus on important issues and public policy debates in higher education today. 

First Things is published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the Pope Center, NAS, and the Institute on Religion and Public Life.
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