Open to Debate Conversation: A New University Offers "Forbidden" Courses

Intellectual Diversity

They say that colleges have become too censorious. That our most prestigious institutions have abandoned their mission of fostering critical minds and sparking thoughtful dissent. And that a generation of American students is missing out. So, this group of scholars and activists are founding something new: a university – they say – dedicated primarily to free speech. The University of Austin will get its start with a series of noncredit “Forbidden Courses.” And it has attracted some of the nation’s biggest (and controversial) thinkers, like Bari Weiss, Steven Pinker, and Larry Summers. But just what does this new free speech university mean for higher education? And what purpose might it serve? In this Open to Debate conversation, John Donovan sits down with the university’s inaugural president Pano Kanelos and co-founder Niall Ferguson to discuss higher education today, the new university, and the enormous debate surrounding it.

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