ERIC Number: EJ786726
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb-8
Reference Count: 0
Colleges Face Ominous New Pressures on Academic Freedom
O'Neil, Robert M.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n22 pA33 Feb 2008
Most professors will never experience a serious threat to their independence or free expression. They may even resent the expectation that they join or support organizations that defend such freedoms when the risks seem so remote to their own careers and fields. Yet for the small fraction of faculty members who do encounter such pressures, academic freedom makes a major difference. It certainly matters, for example, to the growing number of reputable scholars who have questioned the wisdom of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East (especially in Iraq), just as academic freedom safeguarded many professors whose outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War, in the 1960s, would otherwise surely have put them at grave risk. Federal and state courts have seemed surprisingly receptive to an emerging and deeply disturbing view of academic interests, whether the issue is who controls a professor's choice of teaching materials and assignment of grades, who makes the final decisions in allocating endowment money for the support of academic programs, or what happens when a student objects to an unwelcome course assignment. In this article, the author argues that there are ominous new threats looming over the academy which endanger not just higher education, but the very pursuit of knowledge and suggests some actions that might provide better protection for academic freedom in the future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A