We believe that diverse intellectual inquiry is foundational to the liberal arts experience, and that student learning is greatly enhanced when students are offered the opportunity to critically engage with a wide variety of perspectives on the important issues facing our time.
To fulfill these aims, we look to improve the campus climate for intellectual diversity, civil political debate, thoughtful intellectual nonconformity, informed dissent, and free expression on these topics. We seek to bring in outside lecturers and guest scholars, provide opportunities for students to engage in research– either individually or collaboratively with faculty– on these issues, and support faculty teaching initiatives and scholarship that support the project’s mission.
We seek to ensure that Bucknell is and remains a national model for ensuring productive discussions of important political and social issues across lines of political and cultural difference. We have special interest in supporting lecturers and other opportunities that offer perspectives not often heard at the modern liberal arts college—-particularly conservative, classical liberal, culturally traditional, or other “off-diagonal” views.
Given the wealth of social scientific research showing that homogeneous political and social discussion networks often lead to polarization, outgroup hostility, and lowered levels of critical thought, we also wish to provide opportunities for students, faculty, or guest lecturers with diverging views the opportunity to interact with and debate one another as civil and civic-minded intellectuals.
BPALC fully supports commitment to free speech and diverse inquiry as articulated by the Chicago-Princeton statement on campus freedom of speech, the Robert George-Cornel West declaration on campus freedom of expression, and the “Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” as well as by Heterodox Academy.