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I admit I LOL'd at the part about lighting up "like a Christmas tree." WATCH AND LEARN all IDWs!

The Brian Ferguson Interview

Saturday, June 4, 2022

So whatever happened to the University of Austin?

The University of Austin (UATX) made a big splash when Bari Weiss announced it last fall. But I haven't heard much about it lately. Even Quillette has absolutely nothing to say about it, even though many of the professors listed for "Forbidden Courses" are Quillette authors or connected to Quillette in some other way.

Many people assumed UATX was a scam and a jobs program for the racist right. 

As the Center for Media Democracy said in November 2021: Bari Weiss’ New “Fiercely Independent” University Closely Tied to Right-Wing Koch Network

 And not only Koch - the article notes the Thiel connection:

The school’s only known financier is Joe Lonsdale, a board member of Cicero Research and a founding UATX trustee, who co-founded the controversial Palantir Technologies big-data firm with GOP megadonor Peter Thiel. Along with Lonsdale—who has been accused of rape, something he denies—two apparent family members and a colleague at his venture capital firm, 8VC, make up Cicero Research’s board.

Thiel is a funder of Quillette. So of course there's a heavy emphasis on supporting racism at the University of Austin:


Several UATX figures have taken public stances against efforts to combat racism and other bigotry in society, and they have used the resulting blowback from their communities to launch right-wing media tours as free speech warriors and victims of oppression.

In a piece he wrote for the white nationalist-friendly Quillette during a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests nationwide, Princeton classics professor and UATX adviser Joshua Katz called a Black student activist group a “local terrorist organization,” resulting in condemnation by other faculty and the university’s president. Then Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal printed his characterization of the events, including his “survival” of “cancellation.” Katz sued the American Council of Learned Societies for alleged “viewpoint discrimination” after it withdrew his delegate status because of his anti-anti-racist Quillette piece.

Katz is responsible for other controversies. He admitted to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student, for which he was disciplined, and additional accusations of inappropriate conduct have emerged.

University of Chicago geophysics professor and UATX adviser Dorian Abbot co-wrote an op-ed for Newsweek called “The Diversity Problem on Campus,” arguing against diversity, equity, and inclusion practices with regard to admission, faculty hiring, and course content. Abbot’s assertion was that universities are being racist against white people by trying to help traditionally marginalized people enter traditionally white-dominated spaces. He even compared diversity, equity, and inclusion to practices in Nazi Germany. As a result, MIT canceled a lecture he was scheduled to give, and Weiss lent Abbot her blog for his account of being “cancelled.”

Newsweek’s opinion editor, Josh Hammer, is a fellow at the right-wing nationalist Edmund Burke Foundation and previously worked for right-wing publications including The Daily Caller. The Edmund Burke Foundation hosts an annual National Conservatism conference. At this year’s conference, which concluded on Nov. 2, several UATX figures spoke alongside Hammer and other right personalities, including Mark Krikorian, executive director of anti-immigrant hate group the Center for Immigration Studies: Hirsi Ali and UATX advisers Sohrab Amari and Glenn Loury. Peter Thiel gave the keynote address.

It seems to me that the racist right are attempting to create their own Galt's Gulch, starting with a right-wing libertarian university. 

Doonesbury addressed University of Austin back in January. 

And PZ Myers has some recent thoughts about UATX:

Oh hey, speaking of fake universities, let’s check in with the University of Austin. June 2022 is a big month for them, because this is when they have their very first course offering, “The Forbidden Courses“. They’ve had to scale back a bit, unsurprisingly. The courses will not be held in Austin — they’ve rented some lovely spaces in Dallas for the whole thing. The “course” is all of 4 days long, and there are two course sessions…you could apply for both if you wanted. It is not accredited...

...I looked at that mess and figured their student body was going to be tinier than they expect, except they did one thing exactly right. They are paying bodies to attend.
Due to the support of a generous grant from our donors, there is no cost to attend the program. Hotels, some meals, and activities are covered by UATX. A $300 stipend will be given to participants to defray costs from travel, some meals, and other incidental expenses. Any additional costs will be the responsibility of participants.
Whoa. I wish we could just pay our students to attend my university, and take care of their housing and meals at no cost. This is what you get when millionaires and billionaires back your efforts to destroy public education. I wonder what contribution Elon Musk made?

He was not impressed right from the start:

I like that Myers refers to Pinker as a weasel at minute 9:00. Sure, so many reviewers of Pinker's work accuse him of trying to have things "both ways" and say that he is "blithe" - but I say, let's also get "weasel" going!

UPDATE: Myers just published a new video today: PZ vs Peterson vs Dawkins.

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