A bunch of educators and activists grabbed a lot of attention when they said they were starting a new school called the University of Austin

University of Austin emerges as beacon of free speech amidst academic restrictions

Ausitn, Texas – A few years ago, a bunch of educators and activists grabbed a lot of attention when they said they were starting a new school called the University of Austin (UATX.)

This school isn’t part of the University of Texas system and doesn’t have official accreditation yet. They created UATX because they believe many colleges nowadays don’t allow free discussions and are too narrow-minded, especially about current topics.

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In just six weeks after announcing it, UATX managed to collect $10 million. While this amount was way less than their $250 million target, it was still enough to begin hiring instructors and setting up classes.

This autumn, UATX is all set to welcome its first-ever batch of students. Morgan O’Hanlon has been keeping an eye on this development for The New Republic in her article titled, “Austin’s Anti-Woke University Is Living in Dreamland.” She recently spoke on Texas Standard about her findings.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: You attended some events hosted for new students and families put on by the University of Austin. What did you see? 

Morgan O’Hanlon: I did. I attended the opening weekend of UATX recently.

This is kind of the coming together of a years-long project to start this new educational project here in the capital of Texas. And it’s really realization of this project that a lot of people doubted for a long time.

One of the university’s deans is a former University of North Texas professor who was banned from speaking publicly after attending and contributing to a campus discussion about the Israel-Hamas war. Could you tell us more about him and your conversation with him? 

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Yeah, “banned” might be a strong word for what happened in that instance.

He received an email issuing guidance to all the political science professors in his department, asking that they kind of adhere to stronger guidelines so that they can more effectively handle protests that are going on at campuses across the country in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Now, this is kind of the latest realization of a culture war that’s going on. I mean, it is a hot-button political issue. There’s a lot to say on both sides. And he did not like that he felt censored by the university.

That’s a really, really common theme among the professors who are joining UATX. In fact, it almost seems like a job requirement to have some sort of political controversy going on or to have some kind of accusation of censorship against their former employer.

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You can read the full interview here!


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