David Wippman
“Jumping to partisan conclusions based on isolated incidents taken out of context” is a “problem that affects all aspects of American culture, society, and politics” wrote President David Wippman in a co-authored essay published in The Hill on June 27.

In “Colleges should do more to slow down ‘fast thinking’,” Wippman and co-author Glenn Altschuler, an American studies professor at Cornell, pointed to several recent singular examples magnified by the media, including the overwhelming success of the University of Pennsylvania’s transgender female swimmer and rare instances of speakers being shouted down on campuses. Referring to sensationalist incidents involving speakers, the co-authors cited the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression “campus disinvitation database” that identified only 10 such cases in 2021 from among the many thousands of speaking invitations issued last year.

“Institutions of higher education have a special obligation to resist the temptation to jump to conclusions and recommend remedies without adequate review, even when many members of the campus community demand an immediate response,” they wrote in concluding remarks. “… College and university officials should condemn offensive speech and behavior but have the courage — and it will take courage — to distinguish incidents that are unrepresentative from those that indicate a systemic problem, and base policies and responses on a careful assessment of all available evidence, even when that takes time.”

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