Arizona lawmakers have allocated millions of dollars to create so-called “freedom schools” at public universities that focus on the importance of Western culture and free markets.
Supporters say the effort is necessary to restore intellectual diversity on campus, arguing that conservative beliefs are generally overlooked by liberal professors.
Arizona colleges and universities are implementing new academic programs designed to broaden intellectual diversity by examining the importance of Western culture and America’s founding.
According to The New York Times, the new initiatives, referred to by some as “freedom schools,” are backed by Arizona’s GOP lawmakers and funded by the state.
“It’s a big deal to those of us who feel very strongly about a more conservative education.” Tweet This
Arizona State University describes its School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership as a “new kind of program” that “looks beyond time and borders to explore the fundamental questions of life, freedom, and governance.”
The school explains that the new initiative “looks inward to the guiding principles of America’s founders and the leaders who have inspired us,” while also seeking to combine “classic works and altruistic statesmanship to develop a new kind of leader: trained in critical thought, humble about human imperfection, and ready for anything.”
Last weekend, ASU’s newly-funded school hosted a conference that welcomed students and faculty to discuss “the meaning of the First Amendment on college campuses and free inquiry and intellectual diversity in higher education.”
The conference included lectures by various experts from across the country and panels on free expression, diversity, and challenges in higher education. Other events addressed topics on “Negotiating Controversial Speakers on Campus,” “Freedom of Speech and Thought on Campus: What Role for the First Amendment?” and “State Legislative Remedies to Free Speech Challenges on Campus: Are They Consistent with Academic Freedom?”
Alongside ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, The University of Arizona has also launched a new academic project called the “Department of Political Economy and Moral Science.”
According to the school’s website, the new department was approved last October and will teach a variety of courses relating to Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, and Law.