How many times have we heard “if you don’t like it here, go somewhere else”? That presents a problem for colleges and university faculty as higher ed in America is uniformly woke. A group of academics has a promising solution—start a new college.
The University of Austin (UATX) is a new university. UATX is dedicated to free inquiry, free speech and innovation in instruction and curriculum. At the same time, UATX plans to keep education affordable by keeping administrative and overhead costs down.
The founders of UATX are established academic and public policy leaders including historian Niall Ferguson, author Bari Weiss, former AEI president Arthur Brooks and economists Larry Summers, Glenn Loury and Tyler Cowen.
Universities were once places of discovery and excitement. As Niall Ferguson writes, UATX seeks to restore the campus environment to that he experienced in his student days.
“Those of us who were fortunate to be undergraduates in the 1980s remember the exhilarating combination of intellectual freedom and ambition to which all this gave rise. Yet, in the past decade, exhilaration has been replaced by suffocation, to the point that I feel genuinely sorry for today’s undergraduates.”
Ferguson is right. I too was an undergraduate in the 1980s. The freedom and excitement of undergraduate and graduate college life that I experienced is rare today.
Study after study have show that cancel culture and conformity have taken over academic life in the United States and other Western countries.
Universities are not just failing to live up to their ideals regarding academic freedom. They are also failing to provide value to students. The cost of attending the typical college has almost tripled since 1980 while earnings of college graduates have remained flat.
UATX promises to provide a home for scholars and students disaffected by the current college climate. It also provides an alternative business model for students and parents fed up with funding bloated university bureaucracies with the tuition and tax dollars.