A free society needs to have a place to protect ideas, where controversy of all sorts is tolerated. Traditionally, that has been the academy. Is that necessary?
That model is left over from the many earlier eras where only the few were literate. In an age of more universal literacy, should we put society's protected space of controversy somewhere else? How well is this model serving society now?
It is too easy for critics of the academy to just say they will object to giving up such a spot because it is their ox being gored. Well, that would be true of any of us, but that doesn't mean there aren't actual good reasons for keeping the academy in the role of "place where people can question anything and have controversial ideas."
I have no secret alternative solution. I'm just asking.