Crispin Sartwell, who up until recently was associate professor of philosophy at Dickinson College, says: “i have been officially terminated by dickinson college, as of march 31, without appeals process or compensation.” Dickinson College Provost Neil Weissman says that Sartwell’s “characterization of events, including his claim that the college terminated his emplo..
…Academic freedom is the core meaning, the core institutional life, of freedom of debate and freedom of inquiry in the university setting. And one thing that’s notable about academic freedom as I’ve just labeled it is that it creates safe spaces. The people who are doing the work on an ongoing basis be they students, teachers, or researchers, don’t have to spend a..
Busi Mkhumbuzi, an undergraduate at the University of Cape Town (UCT), reports that she has been “summoned by the Student Tribunal” (part of the university’s apparatus for addressing offenses committed by students) for spreading “racist and defamatory remarks” about UCT philosophy professor David Benatar. Mkhumbuzi says she has called Benatar “racist, ableist and se..
The Canadian Philosophical Association (CPA) has written a letter to Turkey’s Council of Higher Education, stating concerns about academic repression in that country. (For more on the situation in Turkey, see previous posts here and here, for example.) The letter contains some eloquent and important remarks on academic freedom.
We recognize that th..
The Executive Committee of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (ACPA)has issued a statement regarding the ongoing controversy at Mount St. Mary’s University of the recent actions of its president, Simon Newman. After intense pressure and horrible publicity, Newman agreed to reinstate the faculty he had fired, attempting to save face by claiming it was an..
Thane Naberhaus, the tenured associate professor of philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University who was one of several recently fired or demoted by the university’s president, Simon Newman, and then, last Friday, reinstated, sent along the following statement Sunday evening:
Having been reinstated as a member of the Mount St. Mary’s faculty, I have decided to retur..
This afternoon Mount St. Mary’s University announced that its president, Simon Newman, had agreed to reinstate Thane Naberhaus and Edward Egan, the two faculty members who were fired for “disloyalty” earlier this week, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. CHE also reports on Naberhaus’s response:
But one of those faculty members—Thane M. Naberhaus, ..
A GoFundMe site has been created to collect donations for Thane Naberhaus and Edward Egan, the two professors recently fired from Mount Saint Mary’s University by the university’s president, Simon Newman. The story has been summed up well by a fellow philosopher’s comment about Newman: “He wanted to use a fraudulent mental health survey to target students for elimin..
The open letter of support for two professors fired for lack of “loyalty” from their positions at Mount St. Mary’s University, authored yesterday by philosopher John Schwenkler (FSU), gained 1500 signatories in its first three hours and now has over 4000. The story is being followed not just by higher education outlets like IHE and The Chronicle, but also The Washin..
Philosophers are under attack at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The reason appears to be that they questioned the university president’s surreptitious attempt to improve his school’s retention rate by culling students ahead of the federal reporting deadline.
Jülide Yazıcı, a student in the Philosophy Department in Boğaziçi University who was active on social media supporting academics threatened by the Turkish government, was arrested two days ago. According to one source, she was charged with “being a member of an armed terrorist organisation” and “spreading terrorist propaganda.” The specifics of the accusations are u..
The actions of the present government to persecute Professor Öymen, using an ill-conceived law, applied inappropriately, endangers the standing Turkey now enjoys with the international philosophical community…
are accustomed to offering and receiving blunt criticism. The freedom to do so is a necessary condition for philosophical activity, and even more, part ..
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A philosophy professor says he will stand trial next week on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for suggesting in an article that the Turkish leader should go on trial over a range of claims, including alleged corruption and the violation of the constitution.
Orsan Oymen said Wednesday he fac..
In response to the recent persecution of academics in Turkey who had objected to the Turkish government’s treatment of its Kurdish population (previously here and here), a “coalition of 20 higher education networks and associations from around the world” issued a letter to Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling for an end to the persecution, for protectio..
A Response to Brian Leiter from the Margins
by Christopher Lebron
Take a look around you. It’s a new day. Campuses around the country have put the world on notice that there is no last place of refuge for marginalization. Ap..
The University of Illinois will pay $875,000 to settle the Steven Salaita case. From the press release from Salaita’s lawyers:
Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel Loevy & Loevy announced the settlement of Professor Steven Salaita’s case against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for firing him from his tenured posit..
What is an “intellectually safe space”? In “What Does Intellectual Safety Really Mean?” Katelyn Hallman (North Florida) notes:
An intellectually safe environment, as typically construed, is something like an environment “in which a person feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions without fear of harsh judgment or repercussions.” This conception of intellectual..
BB&T, a banking firm, has apparently stopped its multi-million dollar campaign to buy space in college curricula for the work of Ayn Rand. For years it had provided gifts to colleges and universities called “Moral Foundations grants,” which came with various provisions for bringing attention to the work of Rand. According to a study discussed at Inside Higher Ed, “a..
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has published the 2015 edition of its Journal of Academic Freedom. The volume covers a variety of events and issues. Several pieces are on Steven Salaita’s “unhiring.” There’s a piece on the personal ethics of academic freedom, one on the emergence of institutional review boards as threats to academic freedom,..
We’ve discussed academic freedom at Daily Nous before (for example: Thoughts on Academic Freedom, Are We Being Chilled?, Strategies for Keeping Warm, Microaggressions and Academic Freedom). One thing I’ve been concerned with is the extent to which the very few actual cases in which a professor’s academic freedom has been violated owing to the expression of unpopular..
Any characterization of the United States as “a melting pot,” for example, is classified in widely used training materials as a microaggression signaling a refusal to acknowledge the role that race plays in American society. The same goes for saying “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough” or “I believe the most qualified person should get the..
A Northwestern University professor who edits a bioethics magazine has shelved the publication over a dispute with administrators, who demand that public relations staff approve content. Katie Watson, a professor in the university’s Medical Humanities and Bioethics program who edits the journal Atrium, said the demand followed recent controversy over the school’s ce..
“Disability activists have launched a petition demanding Princeton University professor Peter Singer resign over his outspoken support for euthanasia and infanticide,” according to an article in The Washington Times.
The petition, which currently has 823 signatories, makes the following demands:
- That Princeton University officials should immediately call for..
The following is a guest post* by Laura Kipnis, professor in Northwestern University’s School of Communication. Professor Kipnis wrote an opinion piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe,” in which she argued against certain policies and attitudes regarding sexual relations between faculty and students. In doing so, she referred ..
It has happened to all of us. It has happened to someone who someone you know heard about from someone else: a perfectly competent professor disciplined for saying something totally innocuous in class after being reported to the administration by oversensitive students.
We talked about this a bit here. In “Professors Running Scared? A less dramatic rendering of p..
In previous posts (here, here, and here) I have expressed some skepticism about the idea that academic liberty is on the decline. Yes, there are occasional stories of violations of academic liberty; Steven Salaita, whose job offer was rescinded, comes to mind. But we have to be careful here. A (defeasible) rule of thumb is that if you are hearing a lot about an even..
It seems to me we need some clarification of the idea of academic freedom, so I am throwing out these thoughts, rather tentatively, to get the ball rolling. I welcome discussion on this, though keep in mind this is a blog post and not an academic paper. Links to helpful resources as well as discussions elsewhere are also welcome. Ok, so here goes: