SSN Commentary

There’s a War on Academic Freedom? Follow the Money.

Policy field

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Trinity College

Originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on September 5, 2023.

Professor Steven Brint did the profession and the public a great service in “The Political Machine Behind the War on Academic Freedom” (The Chronicle Review, August 28). In chronicling the political operatives waging the culture war against American higher education, Brint powerfully demonstrates that recent legislation attacking critical race theory (CRT) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives originate with a “national-level political machine” comprised of a “well-established webs of organizations” closely tied to the Republican party. One caveat I would add is that the organizations profiled in the piece are all funded by the same small handful of wealthy plutocratic libertarian donors. Following the money helps clarify the stakes in this full-frontal attack on academic freedom.