Public colloquium part of Friday's official launch of School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
Editor’s note: ASU’s new School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership officially launched Friday. Here are highlights from the morning kickoff, which was attended by new school director Paul Carrese, ASU President Michael Crow, Gov. Doug Ducey and other elected officials. The full story that published Thursday about the new school follows below.
At Friday’s launch event, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership director Paul Carrese said the aim of the school is “to develop a new class of leaders.”
“This distinctive school is a blending of tradition and innovation: great ideas with preparation for leadership service,” he said.
Gov. Doug Ducey
Free speech was a theme at the event, with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey quoting Frederick Douglass that “to suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”
“No one can ever accuse ASU of suppressing free speech,” Ducey said.
He also addressed the issue of a lack of diverse media exposure, saying, “We live in an age where it’s easy for people … to receive news from a single, handpicked source,” and that today’s university students are often encouraged to further insulate themselves from counter-perspectives.
“With this new school,” Ducey said, “ASU and the state of Arizona is bucking this trend. … As Americans, in times of great challenge, our heritage of rich intellectual discourse in the midst of different values and principles has served us honorably.
“The answer has never been less speech; it has always been more. Now at ASU and through the coursework at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, this tradition can continue.”
ASU President Michael Crow proudly introduced the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership as the 18th transdisciplinary school the university has launched.
“Education sits at the root of the core of the advancement of democracy,” Crow said, adding later that we “cannot advance the ideals of American democracy without intellectual combat.”
George Will (pictured above), a Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative political commentator, served as the keynote speaker of the event. He echoed Ducey’s statements on free speech, remarking, “Whatever else universities do, they shouldn’t attack free speech.”
He also touched on a number of hot-button issues concerning the current political climate, including cultural bias and immigration.
“Today, the temperature of politics is exceptionally high because the stakes are unusually high,” Will said. “We’re arguing about basics.”
The most crucial word in the Declaration of Independence, he said, is “secure.”
“Governments and institutions are meant to secure [basic human] rights. …That there is a fixed human nature, that we are not infinitely malleable,” Will said, because when you allow those in charge to assume we are infinitely malleable, “you license a very sinister political project. To make of human clay whatever the political class of the moment wants to happen. Our natural rights are essential to the flourishing of creatures of our nature.”
Will noted that American poet Robert Frost once said, “I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.”
“Arizona State and this new school within it is a way of letting the cream rise,” he said.