The president of the University of Chicago says that education requires freedom of speech and tolerance


University of Chicago Update

As the president of the University of Chicago, Robert Zimmer, prepared to step down, he warned that American universities must combine a passion for diversity and inclusion with a firm commitment to freedom of speech to maintain the quality of higher education.

“The university has long struggled with the authorities to maintain the ability to inquire, freely, and think independently. It should not be subject to national politics, religion, and the moral self-righteousness of specific groups. This is unfinished work that needs to be dealt with,” he Say.

When Zimmer issued the warning, the university announced that it would provide $200 million in grants to undergraduates in his name. Individual trustees, including Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, Ariel Investments founder John Rogers, and former Aramark CEO Joseph Neubauer, have raised more than $105 million.

During his 15 years as president, the mathematician has taken this highly regarded university to new heights. Undergraduate applications surged by 300%. It opened new centers in Asia and carried out large-scale construction activities. Chicago is now competing with older and wealthier universities for the top places in student, faculty, and public rankings.

“Bob Zimmer will become one of the most transformative university presidents in history,” said Rubinstein, who also served on the board of directors of Harvard University, Duke University and Johns Hopkins University. “Not only did he make this university better than before, but his support for freedom of speech will be remembered forever.”

This university attracted global attention in 2016 Outspoken student Efforts to restrict speech cannot be tolerated. Free speech advocates and conservatives contrast this move with schools that create safe spaces, issue trigger warnings, or cancel invitations. In 2018, the university Unwavering When hundreds of protesters rallied to oppose the plan to invite Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon. (Bannon later cancelled it himself.)

“Fundamentally, people are very satisfied with the freedom of speech of those they agree with. For those who they think are unpleasant or wrong… they don’t want people to hear them so much.,” Zimmer said. “The entire focus of education is on continuous intellectual challenges and open discussions.”

The trustee’s gift will be used to support the university’s Odyssey Scholars program, a pioneering program initiated by Zimmer in 2007 for low-income, minority, and other disadvantaged undergraduates.

“We realized early on that just providing tuition support or board and lodging support is actually not enough,” he explained. The program provides funding for everything from pre-university summer courses and study abroad to paid internships and mentoring, and eliminates the need for loans and regular jobs that “may make students feel isolated and less included in Inside”.

During Zimmer’s tenure, the graduation rate of underrepresented students jumped from 80% to 94%. The Odyssey project “really put me on the path of medical school… I found my own niche market and crowd”, said Symphony Fletcher, the first generation of low-income students who graduated in 2020.

In some ways, the University of Chicago is lucky. It was established in the Midwest in 1890. It is a co-educational and inclusive institution. It largely avoided the struggles of some rivals caused by racism or an unpleasant history.Although its economic sector is Milton Friedman And unfettered capitalism, it is also the home of behavioral economics leaders and former Democratic policy makers.

Zimmer decided to quit and become prime minister after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was very successful as a fundraiser and had great success in building connections with the larger Chicago community. Last year, when its dormitory and cafeteria were closed due to Covid-19, the university switched to providing 225,000 meals to neighbours in need. It also provided more than $1.2 million in transitional grants to local small businesses and non-profit organizations to keep them moving forward during the pandemic.

“Others put African Americans on their boards, and they’re done. Bob is not like that. When he brings in diverse talent, he really wants to hear your thoughts,” Black Rogers said. “It’s really rare to see.”


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