Last year, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argued that recent conflicts at institutions of higher education are rooted in conflicting assessments of their telos, or core purpose.
Is it to seek truth or to advance social justice?
Those missions aren’t always at odds. But in Haidt’s view, they are presently coming into conflict often enough that the status quo is unmanageable. “Universities will have to choose, and be explicit about their choice, so that potential students and faculty recruits can make an informed choice,” he argued. “Universities that try to honor both will face increasing incoherence and internal conflict.”