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The College Fix’s 9 most uplifting campus moments of 2023-24 school year

Events demonstrate faith, patriotism, free speech, and family values still important

Bad news about antisemitism and destructive protests may have dominated headlines throughout the spring and fall semesters, but the 2023-2024 school year also had its uplifting moments.

Examples of patriotism at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and faith at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana showed there are still college students who value these ideals – and are willing to fight for them.

The year also saw faculty and other higher education leaders publicly standing up to the woke agenda infiltrating academic and extracurricular activities.

Then, there were individual students who did some extraordinary things, like saving a child’s life – or simply creating a bit of much-needed, non-politicized campus laughter.

So here, in no particular order, is a list of some of the most uplifting moments of the year reported by The College Fix:

1. Frat brothers defend Old Glory – Students with Pi Kappa Phi at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill caught national attention when they raised and defended the American flag during a pro-Palestinian protest in April. Despite being pelted with water bottles, the brothers stood strong. As of June 21, a fundraiser to celebrate their patriotism has raised more than half a million dollars.

2. Pro-life students save a baby’s life – With a few “simple words,” the president of the pro-life Eagles for Life club at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul in Minnesota encouraged a young pregnant mother to reject the pressure to abort her unborn baby.

3. Athletics association takes a stand for women’s sports – In April, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics stood up to the transgender lobby and adopted a policy that keeps men’s and women’s sports separated by biology.

4. Cancel culture prompts wake-up call on free speech – All across the country, more scholars and university leaders seemed to wake up about the erosion of free speech – and the necessity to protect it.

At Stanford University, faculty approved a free speech statement for the first time in 50 years. Meanwhile, more than 100 renowned scholars signed a declaration calling for global support for the right to freedom of speech.

Free speech groups formed by students and alumni launched and expanded as well.

5. Students at Saint Mary’s fight to maintain Catholic values – The Indiana women’s college quickly rescinded a new policy to admit transgender students after a massive push-back. Instrumental in the effort were female student leaders who fought for their Catholic school to stick to its faith mission.

6. Faculty stand up for academic freedom – And they’re not all conservatives either. Professors in California, Michigan, New York, and other states have been speaking out about how “diversity, equity, and inclusion” efforts are harming education.

One who grew up in the Soviet Union even resigned from the American Mathematical Society due to the group’s failure to oppose DEI statements as a requirement for job applications.

7. Students are hungering for the classics – Undergraduates filled every one of the 455 seats in the University of Notre Dame’s spring semester class on Augustine’s “Confessions.”

Also encouraging, faithful Catholic colleges are reporting record enrollment numbers, and institutions like the University of Austin and Florida International University say there’s a growing hunger to learn about individual freedom and democratic principles.

8. Comedy is back — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld brought laughter to campus at Duke University’s commencement this spring, ignoring pro-Palestinian protesters’ attempts to disrupt his speech. Years ago, Seinfeld criticized political correctness for ruining comedy on college campuses.

Meanwhile, some students are creating their own comedy. Consider the absurd, “not-a-cult” Mizzou Squirrel Observation Society.

9. And finally … Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker’s commencement speech — When The Fix’s video of his remarks at Benedictine College went viral, it served as a reminder that faith and family are still top priorities for many Americans – and there are courageous celebrities willing to speak out for traditional values on college campuses, no less.

Watch more clips from the best commencement speeches of 2024 here.

MORE: The College Fix’s 20 most outrageous campus stories of spring 2024 semester

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.