There is a clamor to teach public universities a budgetary lesson for their behavior towards free speech and intellectual diversity. A few weeks ago Tiana Lowe at NRO recommended that we defund Evergreen State University in Washington:
Public funding constitutes 46 percent of Evergreen’s annual revenue — $55.2 million from state appropriations and $32.3 million in state and federal grants. A public college that cannot defend the First Amendment or even the basic safety of its professors doesn’t deserve a cent of the taxpayers’ money.
Republicans in the Washington legislature have introduced such a bill.
In North Carolina it is about the UNC School of Law as Frank Pray reports:
The North Carolina Senate’s budget proposal, now being debated in the House, includes a $4 million reduction in funding to the law school, constituting nearly a third of the school’sbudget.
We agree with Frank when he says:
Instead of incentivizing greater intellectual diversity, in the long run it could endanger the school’s academic standing and embolden campus radicals. Case studies in other states show why legislators should think twice about this kind of meddling.
We think that such moves will drive all of the state schools to the left in support of their colleagues. It might feel good to conservatives to batter the crazies financially but it will not lead to conservative results. We need to find ways to stop explicit behaviors and create incentives for free speech and intellectual diversity. It is hard legislative work to create such incentives but that is the direction that we need to go. As in most situations, the conservative solution takes time and effort.