Academic rantings

The Washington Times reports on the headway that David Horowitz and the Academic Bill of Rights are making. According to the Times, this Bill of Rights has been introduced as legistlation in 18 states, while Ohio and Tennessee have “struck deals with their universities on protecting academic freedom in lieu of legislation.” Moreover, students at Princeton took the Bill, converted it into a Student Bill of Rights, and passed it by a vote of the student body.

But my favorite part of the Times’ story describes how the left is fighting back. One Jamie Horwitz, a spokesman for “Free Exchange on Campus” and the American Federation of Teachers, blames the success of the Academic Bill of Rights on the fact that “we dismissed it at first as the rantings of an ideologue.”

Here, by the way, is how the Times distills the “rantings” in question (you can find the full text of the Acadmic Bill of Rights here):

1. Faculty members shall be hired and fired based on their competence and expertise, not their political or religious beliefs.

2. No faculty member shall be excluded from hiring, firing or tenure committees based on political or religious beliefs.

3. Students will be graded solely on their knowledge of a subject matter, not political or religious beliefs.

4. Reading lists should reflect a broad range of knowledge within a discipline.

5. Faculty will expose students to a wide range of viewpoints, not use their courses “for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

6. Campus speakers should reflect a broad range of viewpoints.

7. Efforts to censor viewpoints by obstructing invited speakers or destroying literature will not be tolerated.

8. Academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a position of organizational neutrality on scholarly disputes over research.


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