The Austin Union

Restoring the art of debate in the fearless pursuit of truth
overview

The University of Austin exists for the fearless pursuit of truth, which means bringing civil discourse back to the forefront of the American university is of utmost importance to us. UATX has a number of initiatives to achieve this goal. The Austin Union is one such initiative.

why the austin union

UATX exists for the fearless pursuit of truth. The Austin Union exists to promote this purpose.Many universities state a commitment to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and the like, and these are all very, very good and necessary things. And the simplicity of academic freedom as a beacon worked well for quite some time—back in times where people knew there was an innate purpose to life, that absolute morality in some sense existed, that our own individual lives and hedonistic pleasures could not be the guiding force to existence.

But in the past decades, a new culture has seeped into all areas of life, especially education, causing us to question meaning, morality, and truth itself. Western liberal values, the ones holding our nation together despite adversity, began to wane. Personal identity began to reign as supreme above all other political or religious considerations.

Uniting conversations ceased, as a lack of commonality between us meant that conversations became innately contentious, innately us versus them.Slowly but surely it became clear: freedom alone, without the guiding light or cause of truth, causes societies to slowly devolve into chaos, and personal relationships and meaning to erode. It must be freedom and truth, freedom and something outside of ourselves that leads peoples and nations to thrive.

This is why the University of Austin, unlike other universities, is committed not just to freedom, but to the fearless pursuit of truth.And this fearless pursuit of truth that the University of Austin speaks of is meant not to inhibit freedom, but to increase it, because without a pursuit of something outside of ourselves, no true freedom can be found, only freedom insofar as it does not offend the personal ideology of those around us.

UATX, unlike other universities, is committed not just to freedom, but to the fearless pursuit of truth. And this fearless pursuit of truth that the University of Austin speaks of is meant not to inhibit freedom, but to increase it, because without a pursuit of something outside of ourselves, no true freedom can be found, only freedom insofar as it does not offend the personal ideology of those around us.

How we are different

Pursuit of freedom and truth

We are not claiming to be the only university to champion freedom of speech, which we do with fervor. We claim to provide students with a freedom far more profound than other universities may offer, because we believe that truth exists, and its pursuit is the greatest thing we humans can do.

This “pursuit of truth” will shape practice in multiple ways for our students, from Chatham House rule in the classroom to constitutional protections for the freedom of inquiry of faculty and students

bringing back the lost art of debate

While debate thrives in certain unions around the world, for many, especially outside of academia, debate is a lost art. An attempt to strike up a friendly counterpoint to a co-worker’s political stance nowadays will likely lead to a retort that any such counterpoint is immoral and offensive, that each is entitled to his or her own view, and to question that view is egregious.

But no mind can grow without some sort of resistance. No two people can build a relationship without laying the bricks of disagreement to rest between themselves. No society can be sustained without a peaceful mode of public civil discourse.Debate is a necessary part of life, and it must be modeled within our higher institutions—institutions of education, yes, but also of politics, culture, and media. The University of Austin seeks to build a model of civil discourse for our students and for society at large through the Austin Union.

upcoming
events

SXSW Startup Crawl at Capital Factory House
March 8, 2024