Always Watching: The Argus Project

The National Association of Scholars works to foster intellectual freedom, reasoned scholarship, and civil debate in American higher education. We believe that universities remain true to their purpose insofar as they transmit civilization’s legacy in an environment of rational discourse, intellectual openness, and respect for individual merit. Unfortunately, these are principles sometimes more honored in the breach than the observance.

When colleges are remiss in their responsibilities, we call them to account. We oppose the politicization of teaching and scholarship, as well as the use of racial, ethnic, gender, and other stereotypes as guides for academic policy. We defend the values of liberal education, uphold academic freedom when exercised in the spirit of reasoned inquiry, promote transparency in university governance, and support fair play in the treatment of students, faculty members, and the public.

But to succeed we need many more eyes than we currently possess. Our national staff cannot be simultaneously on all 3000-plus American college campuses, or survey their voluminous websites, but our friends, collectively, can. Whether you are a professor, student, parent, administrator, or simply someone who cares about higher education, you have probably noticed university policies, programs, or events at odds with the responsible exercise of academic freedom or the decent treatment of students. You knew, “This is not right.” Perhaps you even told someone; but very likely nothing changed.

We want to offer ourselves to you as a resource while securing you as an ally. You can partner with us to bring publicity to neglected campus issues and problems. We have named this initiative the “Argus Project” after a mythological creature whose body was covered with eyes. Just as Argus was always on the lookout, we call upon you to keep an alert watch for us. We need thoughtful, attentive people reporting on what they’ve witnessed to be our lookouts over academe around the country.

If you agree that the university today is neglecting its true purposes and want to help bring the true facts to light, stand guard with us by:

  •  Sending us an email with the subject line, “Argus” that provides your name and the identity of the college or university you want to watch. Tell us whether you would like to watch a campus long-term, or already have a story you believe the NAS should pursue. If you wish to be our eyes at a particular institution we can provide you with guidance. We’re not interested in sending spies into classrooms, or otherwise violating anyone’s rightful privacy, but there are plenty of revealing public sources of information toward which we can direct your gaze.    Email: [email protected]
  • Becoming an NAS member. Network with our state affiliates and find others on your campus who share your convictions. Work together to watch a college or university, and funnel your findings to the NAS. Should you wish, we’d be happy to give you public credit for any information that we publish.

The original Argus was not invulnerable. He met his end when Hermes lulled him to sleep by telling one boring story after another. Nothing much has changed. Higher education still tries to lull observers to sleep with exceptionally dull accounts of itself. But we are on to Hermes’ tricks. If you would like to help in figuring out what’s really happening on your campus, let us know. We have suggestions for where to look to catch the mischief hidden in plain sight.

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