Villasenor Commentary Focuses on Diversity — of Viewpoints
In a commentary published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, John Villasenor of UCLA Luskin Public Policy and co-author Ilana Redstone Akresh of the University of Illinois discuss viewpoint diversity on college campuses. While complaints of political correctness in academia have been around for decades, Villasenor and Akresh argue that the dynamic has changed in recent years. “Social media are increasingly employed as a tool both for direct censorship and for strengthening the pressures to self-censor, significantly narrowing the range of permissible academic discourse,” they write. Villasenor and Akresh advocate teaching students to examine multiple perspectives, explore nuance, question assumptions, and think critically in all aspects of their education. “Academic freedom exists and needs protection precisely because there are opinions that can both generate offense and have value,” they write. “This does not mean that all offensive ideas have value. But it does mean that the value of an idea cannot be judged solely on the basis of whether it offends.” Villasenor and Akresh write that “we need college faculties that are diverse racially, ethnically, religiously, and in terms of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the viewpoints they bring to their research, teaching, and engagement with their communities.”
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