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University of Austin officially launches in capitol city by critics of ‘cancel culture’ and ‘censorship’ in higher education

A new, private university has been launched in Austin, Texas by critics of “cancel culture” and “censorship.”

The University of Austin, UATX, is the newest school in the capital city. It will be dedicated to “the fearless pursuit of truth,” straying from the “censorship” its founders say is “plaguing higher education.”

On the institution’s website, the school is described as “a liberal arts university committed to freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, and civil discourse. To maintain these principles, the university is fiercely independent—financially, intellectually, and politically.” The website says it has no political or religious affiliation, maintaining “fierce independence” in all areas.

Its mission is to allow “freedom of inquiry as the precondition for the pursuit of truth”. Founders claim that most universities have moved on from the freedom of inquiry and, as such, “the most curious, innovative scholars and students will want to join us.”

Founders and board members of UATX include E. Gordon Gee, the president of West Virginia University, Bari Weiss, a former New York Times columnist, and Lawrence H. Summers, former Harvard University president. The president of the university will be Pano Kanelos, the former president of St. John’s College.

“There just aren’t enough institutions right now that are modeling open inquiry, civil discourse, and providing options to students who are looking for schools that are inviting them into an intellectual adventure,” Kanelos said.

The school has yet to open, as the founders are looking for land and need to acquire undergraduate accreditation before opening their doors. They are hoping to do so by 2024. Before then, they will host a non-credit program called “Forbidden Courses’ next summer. In 2022 and 2023, the institution will begin offering master’s programs. Nothing is certain, as the accreditation process can take anywhere from one to seven years. The school will need $250 million to get started and currently has $10 million. Kanelos predicted a $30,000 annual tuition amount.

In addition, leaders of the school believe that having land is essential to the operation they are running. “We believe human beings think and learn better when they gather in dedicated locations, where they are, to some extent, insulated from the quotidian struggle to make ends meet, and where there is no fundamental distinction between those who teach and those who learn, beyond the extent of their knowledge and wisdom,” the website says.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY ADVENT

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