UNC looking to counter 'woke' campuses with new school: Creating a 'level playing field'
UNC Trustee Marty Kotis says faculty response to Civic Life and Leadership school shows why its needed
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is taking a major step to combat woke ideology on its campus by announcing the Civic Life and Leadership School.
One Board of Trustee member noted to FOX Business that, while the new school isn't designed to directly tackle woke ideology, it is intended to "level" the playing field for discourse on campus.
"I wouldn't say that we're taking direct aim at workism. I'd say that we're creating an environment for civil discourse," Trustee Marty Kotis said on "Varney & Co" Thursday. "And when one side is represented and the other side is suddenly allowed to speak up, it may seem like we're taking aim - but really we're just trying to create a level playing field."
As part of the university's "Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good" plan, the North Carolina college announced the school which falls under the plan's "Promote Democracy" strategic initiative.
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"As the nation’s first public university, we have a responsibility to be a place that brings together people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints to debate the issues of our day," Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz on the school's website Friday.
"We are working to support a culture of respect, debate, and discovery. It won’t be easy and will often feel simply uncomfortable. Yet these are the skills our students, and we as citizens, need to be stewards of our democracy."
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The program would have its own team of dedicated professors from a variety of disciplines with a focus on creating free spaces for students to exchange ideas rather than face indoctrination from one ideology.
"There's no safe space in life. I think that allowing people to have a civil dialog and feel comfortable in their own skin and feel comfortable sharing what they think and not feeling like they're being indoctrinated is the key message that we're trying to do here," Kotis said.
Despite the promising avenue for freedom of speech and expression, some school faculty members are expressing outrage over the decision, claiming they were blindsided.
Former UNC Chancellor Dr. Holden Thorp told FOX Business he believes the move is a solution in search of a problem.
"I've never had a tense moment where people couldn't exchange ideas. So to me, this isn't a serious problem that they're so focused on. This is just a very productive political talking point," Dr. Thorp said.
Kotis responded saying the outrage from some faculty members exemplifies why a program like the Civic Life and Leadership School is needed.
"The faculty really hasn't addressed the school. They've been more focused on the process, which is a shame. I think we should be discussing the merits of the ideas. And actually, their reaction or some of their reaction is indicative of why we need such a program."
Kotis praised the school, which he says is "allowing for the two sides of the coin, different perspectives to be presented."
"By having that, you'll have that constructive dialog," he added. "The problem right now is you only have sometimes one message, and it's not really an "R" versus a "D" or a woke versus conservative. It's allowing freedom of expression and ideas and exchange of ideas, which is the foundation of the university, light and liberty."
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