By Aaron Tao • Monday March 17, 2014 11:27 AM PDT •
Since my days as an undergraduate, I’ve been a major supporter of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and its tireless efforts in defending the academic freedom of students and faculty alike regardless of cause. In this day and age where illiberal attitudes on campuses are the norm and not the exception, FIRE president Greg Lukianoff’s new book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate could not be more timely.
A self-described atheist and “lifelong Democrat,” Lukianoff’s exposé cannot be easily dismissed as right-wing tirade against political correctness run amok. Anyone who spends the slightest amount of time in higher education these days could lament the sad state of discourse. Instead a freewheeling environment where controversial ideas can be advocated and debated, students and faculty taking the “wrong” stance can expect to be punished. Lukianoff cites a disturbing 2010 study by the American Association of Colleges and Universities that surveyed 24,000 college students and 9,000 faculty, and found that 35.6 percent of students and only 16.7 percent of the faculty strongly agreed with the statement: “It is safe to hold unpopular positions on campus.” With this kind of hostile environment, it comes as no surprise that the nation’s colleges and universities are full stories of censorship, deprival of due process, politically motivated “investigations,” forced ideological indoctrination, and other shameful episodes that would shock people of all persuasions.
Unlearning Liberty reveals a wide range of incidents from the laughably absurd to the truly frightening: READ MORE