academic freedom

Awards for Reporting about Anti-Semitism on Campus

At the Student Free Press Association, we’ve partnered with the Institute for Jewish & Community Research to establish $1000 awards for excellence in student reporting on anti-Semitism. To learn how to enter, go here. From the press release: Campuses have become staging grounds for campaigns demonizing Israel, intimidating Jewish students and threatening the foundation of […]

Read More

Faculty Groupthink and Contempt for Israel

The hiring of former Brooklyn College adjunct Kristofer Petersen-Overton was quite extraordinary. Even though New York’s fiscal problems have led to a slashing of the adjunct budget for required, undergraduate Core classes, Brooklyn’s Political Science Department chose to assign an adjunct to teach a Masters’-level elective course, on Middle Eastern politics. And then, even though […]

Read More

Thoughts on Penn State

By Mark Bauerlein As reported here, the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs at Penn State has revised the school’s academic freedom policy and submitted a new version to the president for approval. The proposed changes include, the Introduction says, “Converting the list of restrictions on academic freedom into affirmative principles.” To that end, the Committee […]

Read More

Accept Our School’s Belief System, or You’re Gone

Jennifer Keeton, age 24, is a student in the graduate counselor education program at Augusta State University, Georgia. Faculty members at ASU have informed Ms. Keeton that she will be dismissed if she does not rid herself of beliefs that the school opposes. She holds traditional Christian views about sexuality and gender, and believes homosexuality […]

Read More

The Wolfers and Bastardizing Academic Freedom

Academic freedom carries with it rights as well as responsibilities. The concept derives from the belief that academics, because of specialized training in their subject matter, have earned the right to teach their areas of expertise and to follow their research questions as the evidence dictates—free from political pressure from the government. Indeed, only through […]

Read More

Cuccinnelli Overrides Academic Freedom

When people outside of higher education hear the phrase “threat to academic freedom,” they probably think of government officials (ab)using their power to punish professors with controversial views. The post-World War II Red Scare most immediately comes to mind, along with early 1960s purges of academic leftists. Of course, in the 21st century academy, the […]

Read More

The Groupthink Version Of Academic Freedom

The City University of New York (CUNY) serves as a type of funhouse mirror to faculty conditions throughout the academy: for a variety of structural reasons (the vise-like grip of the faculty union and the legacy of economic difficulties in the 1970s and 1980s, which drove out many high-quality scholars searching for better-paying jobs, leaving […]

Read More

What Is The AAUP Up To?

Cary Nelson, current president of the American Association of University Professors, has a new book dealing with academic freedom and its relationship to broader structural problems in higher education. No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom is interesting and important, but also frustrating. It provides remedies to the problems confronting academic freedom at the […]

Read More

Our Academic Freedom Forum

Congratulations to Minding the Campus for its forum on academic freedom. Saying something constructive about academic freedom doesn’t look all that difficult. It is one of the core doctrines of higher education. It has an abundant history, full of colorful characters, eloquent declarations, incisive legal arguments, and enlivening controversies. Yet somehow University of Chicago president […]

Read More

Is Academic Freedom In Trouble?

The president of the University of Chicago, Robert J. Zimmer, spoke at Columbia University on October 21st on the topic, “What Is Academic Freedom For?” Minding the Campus invited several academics and other observers of the campus scene to post brief reactions to President Zimmer’s remarks. The comments are from Peter Sacks, Erin O’Connor and […]

Read More

Not Your Grandparents’ AAUP

AAUP president Cary Nelson recently e-mailed his membership about an important new venture for the academic union. Proclaiming “this is not your grandparents’ AAUP,” Nelson celebrated the work of the “Department of Organizing and Services,” which had discovered “a faculty band from Ohio performing original songs about the ironies of current academic life.” Perhaps Nelson […]

Read More

Donald Downs On Academic Freedom

Donald Downs appeared here in New York at an event co-sponsored by the Pope Center and the Manhattan Institute on academic freedom, presenting his fascinating new paper “Academic Freedom: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to Tell the Difference.” Listen to John Leo interviewing Donald Downs in a new podcast.

Read More

Three Groupthink Conferences—No Dissenters Please

Several years ago, in a seminal Chronicle of Higher Education essay, Mark Bauerlein lamented a campus in which “the simple trappings of deliberation make academics think that they’ve reached an opinion through reasoned debate—instead of, in part, through an irrational social dynamic. The opinion takes on the status of a norm. Extreme views appear to […]

Read More

Still Tenured, Still Radical

Roger Kimball, editor of Encounter Books and co-editor of The New Criterion, delivered these remarks at a Manhattan Institute luncheon in New York City on November 19th. The occasion marked publication of the second revised edition of his influential 1990 book Tenured Radicals. *** Joining so many old friends from the extended Manhattan Institute family […]

Read More

Academic Freedom Under Assault? We Think Not.

Are academic freedom and free inquiry “under many assaults” as a report at Inside Higher Ed alleges today? We think not. At a conference at the New School in New York City (“Free Inquiry at Risk”) historian Ellen Schrecker of Yeshiva University cited three examples of violated freedoms that seemed to remind her of Joseph […]

Read More

Unsustainable? A Defense Of ResLife At Delaware

The Faculty Senate at the University of Delaware is meeting later today to discuss approving the controversial Residence Life (ResLife) proposal for educational programming in the residence halls. The faculty should approve the proposal, partly because it’s a good idea, but primarily because academic freedom is endangered whenever voluntary educational programs are banned. Conservative critics […]

Read More

Unsustainable? No, Wilson Is Wrong

[Read John K. Wilson’s defense of Delaware ResLife here] The University of Delaware Office of Residence Life has tricked another outsider, John K. Wilson, into believing that its proposal to run a highly politicized indoctrination program for over 7,000 students in the school’s residence halls is actually just a free exploration of diverse views in […]

Read More

Indoctrinate U. Was It Fair? Round II

[Indoctrinate U, a documentary by Evan Coyne Maloney on the state of intellectual freedom at American universities, premiered at the Kennedy Center in September 2007 and has screened in multiple locations since. Peter Berkowitz, writing in The Wall Street Journal, called Indoctrinate U a “riveting documentary about the war on free speech and individual rights […]

Read More

Indoctrinate U. Was It Fair? An Exchange

[Indoctrinate U, a documentary by Evan Coyne Maloney on the state of intellectual freedom at American universities, premiered at the Kennedy Center in September 2007 and has screened in multiple locations since. Peter Berkowitz, writing in The Wall Street Journal, called Indoctrinate U a “riveting documentary about the war on free speech and individual rights […]

Read More

J-School Propaganda

Nestled away in the heart of one of the most conservative Midwestern states is a publicly funded university radically at odds with its surroundings. Universities are in theory, marketplaces for ideas and ideologies; centers for free expression as well as vigorous and informed debate; refuges for free and independent thought. But if the taxpayers who […]

Read More

Who Will Stand Up For Campus Free Speech?

Troy Scheffler, a graduate student at Hamline University in Minnesota, thinks that the Virginia Tech massacre might have been avoided if students had been allowed to carry concealed weapons. After e-mailing this opinion to the university president, he was suspended and ordered to undergo “mental health evaluation” before being allowed to return to school. Punishment […]

Read More

Ave Maria And Credible Right-Wing Threats To Academic Freedom

The Naples News reports that Stephen Safranek, Edward Lyons and Phil Pucillo, all Ave Maria professors, have filled suit against Ave Maria University, contending that they were discharged in violation of their contracts. The lawsuit was not an unexpected development given the recent controversy at the school. The move to Florida and its handling by […]

Read More

The Israel Lobby Destroys Academic Freedom?

The University of Chicago hosted a conference last weekend on academic freedom. Participants ranged from John Mearshimer to Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali. Don’t laugh yet. The event’s cause celebre, the Chicago Maroon reports, was Norman Finkelstein. The partipants lamented DePaul University’s denial of tenure to Finkelstein, and lectured, predictably, on the evils of right-wing […]

Read More

The AAUP Straw-Man Statement

If anyone hasn’t realized that the new AAUP Statement on academic freedom is a sham, then there are two excellent means to inform yourself today. First, Erin O’Connor’s new piece here at the site, on the AAUP’s ducking of almost every serious complaint to which it pretends to respond. A small but telling indicator of […]

Read More

AAUP To Critics: What, Us Biased?

Last summer, AAUP president Cary Nelson announced that the AAUP would be issuing a back to school statement on academic freedom in the classroom. Now that statement has gone public – and it makes for very interesting and informative reading. Written by a subcommittee of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, “Freedom in […]

Read More

Professors Make Fools Of Themselves

Jay Bergman has a fine new piece up at the NAS Forum, puncturing the sanctimony that surrounds the ever-expanding sphere of “academic freedom” in the minds of many professors (see “Ward Churchill, sober research scholar, victim”) In response to the increasing contention that “academic freedom protects professorial speech in any circumstance Bergman cites the 1940 […]

Read More