— katie (@focusfronting) February 19, 2024
There are WOKE DRAGONS under the bed, but our WHITE KNIGHTS will vanquish them for you (and a moderate fee)…
Remember Bari Weis and her proudly, avowedly University of Austin? Noah Rawlings, at The New Inquiry, goes “Inside the “Forbidden Courses” at the billionaire-backed University of Austin, the campus of the “anti woke” commentariat”:
A revolution in education! A resuscitation of the university mission! To happen in, of all places, not the pompous old northeast or the debauched West Coast, not New York or California but the country’s southern reaches—in the Texas Hill Country, in the city of Austin, where already technologists and venture capitalists had swarmed, drawn by the absence of income tax and the looseness of labor regulations, pulled by the mild zoning laws and the natural beauty and the food trucks and the good vibes. Austin, because it was “a hub for builders, mavericks, and creators.” Here a new university: the University of Austin, or UATX.
Around this idea journalists, historians, technologists, and financiers had assembled. People like Bari Weiss, Joe Lonsdale, Joshua Katz, Peter Boghossian, and more. They saw a void in American higher ed. There was not, they asserted, enough free speech. Where, they wondered, was the pursuit of truth? Nowadays, those things were hard to find, but they would be abundant at UATX, an institution to be built from the bottom up, through sheer will and courage—and some backing from billionaires. The Yales, the Stanfords, the UChicagos had been overrun by hordes of “diversocrats” and woke elites. At UATX there would be none.
Many of the founders had participated in the same conservative think tanks: The Hoover Institution, The Manhattan Institute, The American Enterprise Institute. Many had contributed to The Free Press, the digital paper founded by Bari Weiss in 2021, the same year UATX was announced. Many were friends or fans of Jordan Peterson. One UATX founder was even double-dipping, delivering lectures at both UATX and Peterson’s forthcoming Peterson Academy. One had been fired from Princeton University after sleeping with a student and “discouraging her from seeking mental health care,” per an official university statement. One had been accused of assaulting his girlfriend. (The charges were dropped.) Another had had a talk at MIT canceled after comparing Affirmative Action to “the atrocities of the 20th century.” And so, beneath their optimism, there churned bitterness and indignation at their mistreatment by the Thought Police—sour feelings they sweetened with their commitment to “free and open inquiry.”
To build a university you need money and time to raise it. But the founders were eager. They were ambitious, impatient. They wanted students and classes now. So in the summers of 2022 and ’23, UATX established weeklong programs where students at other institutions could attend seminars and lectures by “world-class scholars and knowledge creators”—a sort of anti-woke summer camp. Title: Forbidden Courses…
THE University of Austin is not in Austin. Not yet. It’s 200 miles northeast, in Dallas, on an office complex owned by Mr. Harlan Crow. “Old Parkland,” the complex is called. Crow, a conservative billionaire who recently made the news for funneling thousands of dollars in undisclosed gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas and his family, gives money to UATX, too. He also rents out rooms in Old Parkland to the nascent university, at what UATX founder Peter Boghossian called “a generous rate.” I would later encounter the rich Texan at several UATX lectures, squinting and smiling in preppy athleisure.