Are colleges still places where people can speak their minds and debate ideas? Or have they become havens for censorship and “political correctness” run amok? Are they supposed to be places of safety, where students can develop in a nurturing and supportive environment? Or places of exploration and risk, where students are taught the value of being uncomfortable? Should there be limits to free expression and due process rights on campus that do not exist off campus? What is the relationship between political activism and social-scientific research?

This series will explore these and other questions as part of a broader program designed to better understand the changing climate at Bucknell and on campuses nationwide. We will host an ongoing series of speakers from a diverse set of political backgrounds whose research and teaching interests, as well as personal experiences, lead them to various kinds of critical perspectives about the climate for serious intellectual exchange on college campuses. The series is sponsored by the Office of the President.

Hear an introduction to the series on Erika Funke’s ArtScene program on WVIA (it’s the Sept. 18th program, labeled ‘Dr. Alexander Riley, September 18, 2019’)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 7pm, Arches Lounge:  Sam Abrams, Professor of Politics, Hamilton College and faculty fellow, New York University. “Viewpoint Diversity and a Liberal Arts Education” (video of the event)

Abrams is a scholar of American politics, and also writes about the importance of civil discourse and viewpoint diversity to a liberal arts education. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, and other outlets. His 2018 op-ed about the ideological skew of college administrators made him the subject of vandalism, death threats, and calls for the revocation of his tenure at Hamilton. He is the 2019 winner of Heterodox Academy’s Courage award.

Thursday, October 3, 2019, 7pm, Arches Lounge:  Lee Jussim, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University. “When Social Science Becomes Politicized” (video of the event)

Jussim has published six books and more than 100 articles in the areas of social perception and social stereotyping. He is active in researching and publicizing the politicization of social scientific work, particularly his native field of social psychology, and the implications for understanding things like implicit bias, stereotypes and prejudice, and “gender discrimination.” His public work can be found in outlets such as Psychology Today and Quillette.

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 7pm, Bucknell Hall:  Heather MacDonald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow, Manhattan Institute. “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture” (video of the event)

Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. She has written on campus politics, policing, #metoo, and other issues in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, City Journal, Weekly Standard, and The New Republic. Mac Donald’s newest book argues that ideas first spread within higher education have undermined humanistic values, fueled intolerance, and widened divisions in our larger culture.

Thursday, December 5, 2019, 7pm, Gallery Theatre: Jason Manning, Associate Professor of Sociology, West Virginia UniversityCampus Conflict and Moral Culture.”  (video of the event)

Manning is a theoretical sociologist who publishes on issues of conflict and social control, particularly self-destructive forms of violence such as protest suicide and suicide-terrorism. He has also written on issues of social and administrative control on college campuses.  His work has been featured in The Atlantic, National Review, Skeptic Magazine, and other outlets.

POSTPONED UNTIL ACADEMIC YEAR 2020-21.  Laura Kipnis, Professor of Communications, Northwestern University. “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus.” 

Kipnis’ recent book is an expansion of a Chronicle of Higher Education essay (“Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe”) documenting the authoritarian and secretive nature of a colleague’s Title IX investigation, and the climate for discussing sexual conduct on campuses.  Kipnis’ unapologetic critique of university Title IX policies earned her a series of Northwestern Title IX investigations of her own.

POSTPONED UNTIL ACADEMIC YEAR 2020-21:  Peter Boghossian, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Portland State University. “‘Grievance Studies’ and the Future of the Academy”

Boghossian was one of the central figures in the “Sokal Squared” project,” in which he and colleagues James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose published a number of hoax papers in peer-reviewed academic journals as part of their critique of the politicization and radicalization of a set of academic fields. As a result, Portland State initiated a research misconduct investigation of him in 2018.  The hoax was covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and many other outlets. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a symposium of authors from varying viewpoints regarding the implications of the hoax.