Higher Ed Censorship: Pushing Back Against Academic Groupthink


Day by day, academia is coming to resemble the Catholic Church in the 16th century, when the suppression of heresy became an obsession. Our present-day heretics aren’t burned at the stake, but they are apt to suffer professional reprisals. This is the very antithesis of the way educational institutions ought to work.

One professor who has dared to blow the whistle on this is Adam Ellwanger, who teaches English at the University of Houston.  He has written a letter that attacks the censorious tendencies we find in our colleges and universities and in today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins interviews him.

Ellwanger states, “If we’re trying to find out what’s true, then it’s great to have different perspectives so we can have a dialogue and bring ourselves closer to the truth. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening on campus anymore. I don’t think as many people are interested in seeking truth as much as they are in imparting doctrine. And when it comes to imparting doctrine, viewpoints are a hindrance, it makes it harder to indoctrinate — for lack of a better term.”

He’s right — many academicians have been encouraged to think of themselves as change agents whose objective is to turn out legions of social justice warriors.

Ellwanger has obtained 170 signatures so far, but many people have told him, “I’d sign except that I think it might ruin my career.”

He concludes, “I’m not willing to watch the university as we know it slip away without attempting something. And so, at least there was an attempt to preserve what we had even if, ultimately, we are not yet even at the endpoint of the reinvention of the university.”

Good luck, Professor Ellwanger.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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