The Corner

Education

Civil Discourse Runs into Opposition at UNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has plans to begin a “Program on Civic Virtue and Civil Discourse” in the fall of 2021. The UNC Board of Governors is behind it. Sounds like a good addition to the intellectual environment at a university that has become known for intolerant leftism.

But not to a large number of faculty members, who want to block it. In this Martin Center article, Jay Schalin looks into the controversy.

The faculty opponents gripe that the program will have some redundant material, violates the concept of “shared governance,” and is less than perfectly “transparent.” But the real reason for their opposition is that the funding comes mainly from hated conservative sources.

Schalin takes on all of the arguments against the new program, finding them weak.

He concludes, “The UNC faculty who signed onto Smith’s and Booth’s resolution are choosing very poor ground on which to make their stand. By combating this valuable program that addresses real academic needs — needs that they have failed to address — they are making the case that the board should indeed be more involved in the curriculum in order to protect the university’s most fundamental values.”

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

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