Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sense made

Inside Higher Education continues its Churchill kick with a piece by American Council of Trustees and Alumni president Anne D. Neal in which she singles out the American Association of University Professors for its waffling on the case:
Historically the custodian of academic freedom, the AAUP is struggling to clarify, for itself and others, what academic freedom is. And that struggle centers on accountability — which, unfortunately, explains much of why the AAUP is encountering such difficulty. Roger Bowen, the outgoing general secretary, has vocally defended the notion that academics should not have to answer to anyone but themselves. “It should be evident,” he has written, “that the sufficient condition for securing the academic freedom of our profession is the profession itself.”

This is a far cry from [CU president Hank] Brown’s conception of academic freedom as part of a public trust. It’s also a far cry from the AAUP’s own foundational 1940 statement on academic freedom, which defines it as a set of “duties correlative with rights” and which sees academic freedom as the means by which colleges and universities serve the public trust: “Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher … or the institution as a whole.”
Seems clear enough. As with its last piece on Ward, the comments will probably be more interesting than the piece itself, as IHE's academic readers (like "Unapologetically Tenured") weigh in with their usual, um, thoughtfulness.

(via PB)

Update: the hopefully pseudonymous "Markus Kemmelmeier" has a twist on the famous "speeding ticket" analogy used by the Churchill investigating committee:
[Churchill] is like the driver who gets stopped for speeding, but who then no longer can hide all the dead bodies in the trunk. Arguing whether stopping someone for speeding is the right thing to do or not seems to be missing the point. . . .
(Billy Batts can be found on a t-shirt or "Signature Mouse Pad" at frankvincent.com)

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