Friday, November 9, 2007

Academic Freedom is Us

I feel very good to have finally fulfilled a long-standing promise to start posting away from my home here at Free Exchange on Campus. The blog is one of the major components of the work being done by the Fre Exchange Coalition. The Coalition was set up in order to counter the kinds of outlandish and false attacks by David Horowitz and others on true academic freedom in our nation's colleges and universities[1].

The problem with these people is that, in the cloak of arguing that they are attempting to "eliminate liberal bias" in the classroom, they are arguing that there should be a kind of litmus test applied by the states in order to make sure that classes being taught are "fair and balanced" (in the FOX News sense of the term). Seriously, they have proposed legislation on the issue and even acquired floor votes in some state legislators. The goal is not to increase diversity, but to go back to the standard "Great Man" theory of teaching (specifically using Universities to teach how great America is because of the work of now-dead old-white-men).

The problem with all of this is that, just like the media being attacked for a liberal bias, Universities are overly conscious of something that is probably not a wide-spread problem and it stifles debate on campuses around the country. Although this is not the only problem facing academic freedom (lack of tenured faculty lines would be a good example of another), the fact that true academic freedom is under attack at all is very disconcerting and something that needs to be addressed. Hopefully this effort will be one part of that.

Anyway, you should check out the blog and my first post.

[1] For a great example of the kinds of things that they propose, check out Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Of course, don't take everything there at face value, check out TPM's coverage on Horowitz's inaccuracies and exaggerations.


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