As Universities Go Global, Free Thought Goes Missing

Jackson Diehl: Campuses in 'unfree' countries hurt student, faculty rights
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2013 12:14 PM CDT
As Universities Go Global, Free Thought Goes Missing
In an Oct. 11, 2000 file photo, Yale University students and others spend a fall afternoon on Yale University's Cross Campus in New Haven, Conn.   (AP Photo/Bob Child/file)

With Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng accusing NYU of yielding to Beijing, intellectual freedom at US universities is in the spotlight, and Jackson Diehl is concerned. Schools like Yale and NYU are focused on expanding their reach, opening campuses across the globe—including in "unfree countries," he writes in the Washington Post. NYU, for example, has a forthcoming Shanghai campus. And the expansion is coming at the cost of free thought: Schools are succumbing to governmental pressure to keep quiet.

At Yale-National University of Singapore, for instance, students aren't allowed to form campus branches of Singapore's political parties, nor can they campaign for those parties. NYU, meanwhile, refused to stand up for the Sorbonne's Abu Dhabi-based lecturer Nasser bin Ghaith after his arrest for backing democratic elections; NYU also has a campus there. Universities should have a global presence, but online courses would be a better bet, Diehl writes. "Such ventures might not bring in as much cash as NYU is getting from Abu Dhabi or Shanghai. But they also don’t create incentives for throwing dissidents into the street." Click for Diehl's full piece. (More university stories.)

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