X Partisan is a cross-partisan blog that began on the Davis campus of the University of California. In response to the breakdown of free speech on campuses, the project showcases work by students coming from very different political perspectives. We believe that xpartisan dialogue is the only corrective to the distortions of the vitriol contaminating campuses and communities all over our country.
We tried for a year to get the Interim Chancellor, Dean of Undergraduate Education, and various chairs of UC Davis departments to create a formal series of courses that would model intellectual, open debate. At first they were enthusiastic. Then we discovered that they were not interested in abandoning their role as progressive activists. In spite of formal statements prepared by the President of the UC and various campus chancellors, they chose to close down the University. No longer are our campuses places where students learn the intellectual skills and acquire the disposition and temperament to debate. Instead universities throughout California, the United States, and the world at large have become centers of ideological coercion and bullying from the top down.
The director of the blog Dr. Jeffrey Weiner has worked to counter the culture of “protest” and shouting, and to cultivate free speech as the freedom to speak and write intelligently as a conservative, moderate, or progressive. He has accomplished this in his First Year Seminars, which focus on writing about and debating contemporary polemical issues, and also in the context of his Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Comparative Literature lectures and seminars.
Acknowledging that regressive left policies have made it impossible to change the academy from within, X Partisan is in the process of becoming a non-profit foundation. We are building on donations from the private sector, as well as conservative, moderate, and even liberal PAC’s and foundations. These organizations and their leaders are investing in real change. They acknowledge the national crisis manifested in polarized political discourse and violent protests and counterdemonstrations must be solved by teaching people how to read, understand, and engage a variety of ideological perspectives. Not just students, but academics, politicians, and regular people must learn these skills.
Our goals are to:
- To address the need for college writing programs to create a coherent set of writing and debate skills on controversial subjects by offering syllabi and teaching techniques
- To model debate skills and openness to perspectives from every ideological position regardless of the personal preferences of faculty or students
- To enable faculty to intellectually and temperamentally evolve by being pushed to model behaviors and skills to students
- To invite the private sector’s participation in forming a university culture that is not only prepared on a technical level for the rigors of professional work, but also ethically, philosophically, and historically literate
- To create a summer boot camp for faculty to practice developing curriculums that foster intellectual and emotional engagement with political and ethical hot topics in technology, biological sciences, government, foreign relations, and education
- To create a summer workshop for students to experience these seminars and to be involved in dynamically shaping the pedagogical approaches and content
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