Print & Pixels
Academic Freedom in an Era of Globalization

The campus free speech wars aren’t the only threat to American higher education.

Published on: October 9, 2017
Martha Bayles teaches humanities at Boston College, is author of Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America's Image Abroad (Yale 2014), is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a regular columnist for TAI.
show comments
  • Unelected Leader

    Yeah, take a look at the world’s greatest champion of globalization – General Secretary/Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi. That alone should give you great pause unless you’re in the 1% of 1% and you really do benefit from outsourcing, probably don’t care about free speech, etc. The CCP doesn’t exactly promote western education, unless its for their kids. Xi’s only kid went to Harvard….can’t tell if that’s an indictment of Harvard or Xi for hypocrisy? I guess both. Either way, it’s already happening — the push by the unelected regime in Beijing, in particular, to stifle and derail free speech outside of the mainland, which the party has occupied since 1949 of course.

    Can’t have both globalization and your local laws, particularly regarding speech. YT, Google, FB, Twitter, and many others are banned in the mainland because the 100,000+ CCP censors can’t control them. Oooo. That’s globalization Chairman Xi doesn’t like. Nope. No spreading of platforms he can’t 100% control, like Weibo, Youku, and WeChat

  • D4x

    Martha Bayles identifies “a threat to academic freedom”: the ‘globalized technocratic university’, concluding…”A research topic not likely to be funded is the underlying connection between these growing ties to authoritarian regimes and the anger and protest presently corroding campus life.” I could not find an image of a red herring posing as a logical fallacy, so this will have to do:

    A topic relevant to threats to academic freedom and the “campus free speech wars” would be an analysis of how Bayles’ employer, “Boston College has been given the speech code rating Red.”
    A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here: “The mission of FIRE [Foundation for Individual Rights in Education] is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech,
    legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. …”

    Did I take the time to fully investigate FIRE’s founders to detect a hidden agenda? No – checking their disinvitation database, and my alma mater’s rating a Yellow Flag was enough to believe they are trying to be who they say they are.

    Also of interest to a Hound on the scent of the Fox threatening America’s liberal arts humanities, this by Peter W. Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars:

    “…a provision in federal law planted nine years ago. That’s when [2008] created the American History for Freedom (AHF) program. It
    promised federal funding for university centers promoting the study of
    traditional American history, free institutions, and Western civilization.
    [AHF never received fundamentally transformed government funding 2009-2016, but, nine years later, a
    compelling case for this exception to the 10th Amendment.]

    Please, no more Red Herrings. We need more Hounds, like Miss P, the Beagle who won 2015 Westminster Best in Show:

  • FriendlyGoat

    The Asian world will push on with education without regard to the stumbling blocks recently reconstructed in the worlds of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We may not know that the left/right campus wars are mostly rooted in some folks insisting on the “use” of religion for this and that, with others screaming, “no, no, no, no, NO”—–but that’s about the nutshell of what’s going on today. Without religion for fuel, nearly all of the “controversial” speakers one could invite “from the right” would not be on anyone’s radar and The Young Republicans (or whoever) would not be calling them. Yes, even Milo. (They might like Larry Kudlow, but a lot less, you know?)

    • Tom

      So…have you finally decided that your politics are more important than your faith?

  • Fat_Man

    More importantly, why are taxpayers subsidizing US “non-profit” corporations to invest overseas? Isn’t the foregone tax money supposed to go toward the eduction of our chjildren?

  • WigWag

    “An even greater challenge arises when an American university agrees to plant a full-fledged liberal arts college in authoritarian soil.” (Martha Bayles)

    Professor Bayles neglects to mention one of the more egregious examples of an American institution selling its soul to the devil for the privilege of doing business with authoritarian racists.

    Professor Mead, formerly affiliated with TAI (and Professor Bayles’ colleague at the Hudson Institute) teaches at Bard. So does TAI contributor, Richard Aldous.

    Bard has not only placed itself on “authoritarian soil,” it’s placed itself on bigoted, violent and antisemitic soil.

    Bard has forged a relationship with Al Quds University, an institution notorious for promoting the hatred of Jews. At Al Quds, the moderate students and professors are partisans of the corrupt and Fatah; the more militant students and professors (probably the majority) worship at the altar of Hamas. To these students and faculty, the fact that Hamas promotes blowing up innocent Jews in pizza parlors isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

    If anyone at Bard feels any remorse about this, you would never know it. Bard runs a program which offers joint degrees with Al Quds. Professor Mead, when he was still affiliated with TAI mentioned that Bard had sent him to lecture at Al Quds; it wouldn’t surprise me if Professor Aldous has as well.

    As icing on the cake, the Bard-Al Quds program is funded by none other than George Soros. The program was dreamed up by Bard President, Leon Botstein (a famous conductor who has directed a variety of Israeli orchestras quite often) and Sari Nusseibeh, (a man the Palestinians practically consider royalty) who makes excuse after excuse for Palestinian hatred and violence. For an example of the type of behavior countenanced by Sari Nusseibeh, go here,

    What do you think of it, Professor Bayles when an American university agrees to plant a full-fledged liberal arts college in a place where Jews are vilified and suicide bombers are celebrated.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • QET

    I agree with many of Bayles’ points but really object to the opening line about how “both sides” are responsible. This isn’t even close. Can Bayles point to even one instance of right-leaning/conservative students, faculty and/or administrators (and not at some evangelical bible college) behaving in the manner of the Left on the Portland State professor’s pro-colonialism article, or the Yale house masters, or the Duke divinity professor, just to name three that immediately come to mind? Anyone? Bayles? Bueller?

    And it really isn’t a stretch to see NYU and Yale preaching their modern understandings of “liberal arts” and, dare I say it, “wokeness,” in non-white countries who, at least back here at home, they claim are not responsible international agents because of white supremacy, colonialism, marginalization, yada yada. The idea that liberal arts prepares one for democratic citizenship is a now-obsolete one, having been decisively rejected, behind a wall of homemade antifa bayonets, by 99% of our once-liberal academic institutions. 50 years ago it might have been paradoxical for the US academy to welcome technical trainees from illiberal countries, but not today.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2018 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.