Bari Weiss anti-cancellation cultural university already hits speed bumps
The University of Austin, an unaccredited university project against culture cancellation launched last week by the former New York Times journalist Bari weiss and many of his intellectual compatriots, has already hit their first speed bump. Monday, the Chancellor of the University of Chicago Robert zimmer and professor at Harvard Steven pinker announced that they would be parting ways with the institution after initially being listed as two of its advisory board members. “As is often the case with fast-growing start-ups, there have been a few missteps,” the University of Austin wrote in a declaration announcing their departure. “Our website didn’t initially make a clear distinction between the founding directors and the advisory board… and take responsibility for those things.
In a tweet, Pinker, a liberal intellectual widely criticized after his links to the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein were made public, noted that the dissolution of his partnership with the university had occurred in a “mutual and friendly” manner. “[I’m] wishing them good luck. I’m focusing on Rationality (the book) and Think With Pinker (the BBC’s radio and podcast series) and I won’t talk about them any further, ”he added. Zimmer also shared a statement, writing that while agreeing with the University of Austin’s commitment to free speech, “the new university has made a number of statements about higher education in general, in large part. quite critical part, which deviated very appreciably from my own opinions ”.
One of those critical comments came from the school president, Pano Kanelos, who wrote in an article on Weiss’s Substack that states faculty members at American universities “are treated like criminals of conscience” and are punished for “having a bad opinion on burning issues such as immigration or gender differences” . The school website develops: “We are alarmed by the illiberalism and censorship which prevail in the most prestigious universities in America and what this bodes for the country”, one can read. “But we know that there are enough of us who still believe in the primary purpose of higher education, the pursuit of truth.”
The institution’s founding trustees and advisers list is a row of murderous media figures who decried “culture cancellation”, including the evolutionary biologist Heather Hey, historian Niall Ferguson, New York Post journalist Sohrab Ahmari, Atlantic editor-in-chief Caitlin Flanagan, and old New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan. While the university, as it currently exists, is just a place where students can take informal classes, its founders to say they plan to build a physical campus in the Austin area that can accommodate up to 4,000 students and receive accreditation for graduate and undergraduate programs.
Whether this is a tenable avenue remains to be seen. And skeptics believe building a physical campus is more than a logistical hurdle, it’s a false flag. As Katelyn burns wrote for MSNBC:
Daniel Drezner, a professor from Tufts University, raised personal questions about the realism of the university’s brick-and-mortar goal. “At this point, UATX is more theoretical than real,” he wrote in a Washington post op-ed, adding that it is not certain “if this nascent project will come close to its stated goal”. In a follow-up item, Drezner questioned how the project will raise the necessary capital to become IRL. “Most plutocrats look at the current state of American higher education and don’t see the apocalypse that [the university’s founders] the claim exists, ”he said. added. “Maybe, just maybe, they’re exercising their own kind of independent thinking.”
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