A bunch of different media figures controversial for different reasons are coming together under Bari Weiss, the former New York Times journalist, to form The University of Austin, a college solely focused on advocating for free speech. Weiss, who spent years suppressing and campaigning against many Arab-Muslim scholars who criticized the Apartheid state of Israel, believes it will be “a liberal arts university committed to freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, and civil discourse.”
The names involved in the founding of what is still only a website domain even besides Bari Weiss, and not a legitimate school, are all famous and well-connected media personalities that are not too far away from negative press themselves. Noah Berlatsky reports about them in The Independent as, “These well-connected headline-grabbers never tire of talking about how they can’t say anything anymore, even while they make headlines and find big financial backers for their expensive new projects.”
Bari Weiss, chose Austin as the location for UATX because Texas seems to be a hub of rising talent and capital. The website also mentioned in FAQs that if it has worked well for the likes of Elon Musk and Joe Rogan, it can work for them.
The school website also mentions, “We are alarmed by the illiberalism and censoriousness prevalent in America’s most prestigious universities and what it augurs for the country.” This, many readers of the former journalist Bari Weiss will recognize is something she concerns herself with, a lot.
The program timeline for the school starts from Summer 2022, with the launch of “Forbidden Courses,” which will host undergraduates from other colleges for “spirited discussion” on topics that lead to censorship in many schools. This will be followed by MA programs in the fall of 2022. Meanwhile, their undergraduate program will be launched in the fall of 2024.
Bari Weiss started the announcement for the school on her substack with, “So much is broken in America. But higher education might be the most fractured institution of all.” Ending it with, “It is time to restore the meaning to those old school mottos. Light. Truth. The wind of freedom. You will find all three at our new university in Austin.”