Academic Freedom

Today’s university is rife with competing claims about academic freedom. Although it is similar to the freedom of speech that all Americans enjoy, academic freedom has developed into a more specific guarantee for scholars and teachers. This new paper by Donald Downs, professor of political science, law, and journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, explains what is meant by the term and to whom it applies.

UNC-Chapel Hill leftists gear up to protest Western Civ program

UNC-Chapel Hill leftists list articles by George Leef and our Course of the Month honorees as proof that UNC-CH should not accept a grant from the Pope Foundation to fund the study of Western Civilization at the flagship institution (which they termed “Accept[ing] $12 Million from Racist, Sexist, Classist, Homophobic Donors”).

Alarm bells ring: Horowitz is coming! Horowitz is coming!

An e-mail sent to faculty at North Carolina State warned against the Pope Center’s upcoming conference on academic freedom, because speaker David Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights” contains “carefully chosen language” that “does not fully expose the agenda behind it.” Fortunately for N.C. State, the professor behind the e-mail did know “the real agenda — imposing political litmus tests on course content.” Ye cats!

AAUP Report Sees Threats to Campus Freedoms from Patriot Act

A report by the American Association of University Professor describes potential threats to academic freedom since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A key portion of the report, which was prepared by a special committee tasked with “assessing risks to academic freedom and free inquiry posed by the nation’s response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,” looks at provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which the report states “gravely threaten academic freedom.” In general, the report states, “The speed with which the law was introduced and passed [in October 2001], the lack of deliberation surrounding its enactment, and the directions it provides for law-enforcement agencies have raised troubling questions about its effects on privacy, civil liberties, and academic freedom.”

UNCW faculty accuse College Republicans of fighting for right to discriminate

On Nov. 10, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington derecognized the student group the College Republicans. The university took the extreme measure — which involves freezing its funds and disallowing its use of campus facilities — because the CRs refused to add to its constitution the nondiscrimination clause the university requires. The university has also turned down a conservative student group’s application for registration for the same reason.

At issue are two nondiscrimination clauses that the Student Organization Committee requires to be in student groups’ constitutions.