Education Academic Freedom and Tenure in the United States
by
Luther Spoehr
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0170

Introduction

Academic freedom is a German import. Throughout the 19th century, more and more American scholars undertook advanced study in Germany and returned to the United States committed to wissenschaft (systematic research), a commitment that in their view required lehrfreiheit (faculty’s freedom to teach) and lernfreiheit (students’ freedom to learn). Institutional resistance to these ideas resulted in highly publicized instances of faculty being fired, but although academic freedom did not acquire force of law, competition for notable scholars, the need for expertise in an increasingly complex society, and other factors helped to get faculty demands incorporated into university governance. The landmark event in academic freedom’s early years was the founding of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 1915. Their “Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure” insisted that university faculty are “appointees,” like judges, with “professional functions to perform in which the appointing authorities have neither competency nor moral right to intervene.” Since then, the definition of academic freedom has evolved to include specific protection of research, teaching, and, most controversial and problematic, extramural speech. It has also expanded to include more and more institutions, with backing from prominent professional organizations—the 1940 “Statement of Principles” (which updated the 1915 “Declaration”) along with the 1970 “Interpretive Comments” has been endorsed by literally hundreds of academic groups. These supportive developments periodically met resistance from business, government, and populist elements, which argued that academic freedom shielded economic inefficiency or political radicalism. The First Red Scare (during and after World War I) and the Second Red Scare, featuring McCarthyism (after World War II), are just two eras during which academic freedom was under serious attack. Today, postmodern theory calls “objective truth” into question, leading some academics themselves to doubt the usefulness or even the possibility of academic freedom. This bibliography is an introductory guide to past and present arguments for and conflicts about academic freedom. Many works mentioned here define “academic freedom” broadly and include free speech and other rights often linked to the narrower definition of academic freedom that pertains to faculty research, teaching, and extramural speech. Entries indicate which aspects of academic freedom are dealt with in each work. This bibliography builds on the work of previous bibliographers and includes the most important items they mention, but most references here have been published (either in print or online) since the earlier bibliographies appeared.

Reference Works, Overviews, and Surveys

The items in this section offer comprehensive introduction to the study of academic freedom. They include reference works, collections of sources, essay collections covering a wide range of relevant topics, and analytical narratives spanning long periods of time.

Reference Works

The literature on academic freedom is extensive. The most useful works listed in Aby and Kuhn 2000 and Sinder 1993 appear in this bibliography, but the older bibliographies also contain many books and articles published before the year 2000 that do not appear here.

  • Aby, Stephen H., and James C. Kuhn IV, eds. 2000. Academic freedom: A guide to the literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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    Aby and Kuhn catalogue and annotate over 475 books and articles on academic freedom, covering up to the year 2000. It remains a most valuable reference volume for secondary sources through the end of the 20th century.

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    • Sinder, Janet. 1993. Academic freedom: A bibliography. In Freedom and tenure in the academy. Edited by William W. van Alstyne, 381–392. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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      Useful list of articles published before 1991, including many from law reviews and journals. It is not annotated.

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      American Association of University Professors (AAUP): Primary Sources and History

      Established in 1915 by E. R. A. Seligman, Arthur Lovejoy, John Dewey, and other leading academics, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has been and remains the single most important organization involved with protecting and articulating the meaning of academic freedom. Its “Committee A” on Academic Freedom and Tenure has investigated numerous complaints and controversies, and its reports are all available to researchers, as are other statements and reports from the organization and is members, collected in several regular publications. The AAUP’s Policy Documents and Reports (American Association of University Professors 2015), nicknamed the “Redbook,” is the most recent compilation of policy statements and other materials. The AAUP’s website has information on current activities as well as past ones, along with AAUP periodicals. Tiede 2015 looks at the AAUP’s earliest years, while Hutcheson 2000 analyzes the how the AAUP’s growing interest in organizing faculty unions complicated its traditional concern with academic freedom, especially from the 1970s onward.

      • American Association of University Professors.

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        The association’s website contains up-to-date information on past and current AAUP activities, including a complete set of reports on the issues the organization has addressed, plus publications such as Academe, the Journal of Academic Freedom, and the AAUP Bulletin. An obviously indispensable source.

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        • American Association of University Professors. 2015. Policy documents and reports. 11th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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          Nicknamed the “Redbook” (because of its cover), the latest edition of this vital source is organized thematically, with traditional topics and documents as well as eighteen new reports, including ones on sexual assault, outside speakers, and the role of adjuncts in university governance.

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          • Hutcheson, Philo A. 2000. A professional professoriate: Unionization, bureaucratization, and the AAUP. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press.

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            In the half-century after World War II, particularly in the early 1970s, the AAUP debated whether commitment to unionization could be compatible with its traditional concerns about academic freedom. Hutcheson provides a very detailed accounting of this debate and its complicated, ambiguous outcome.

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            • Tiede, Hans-Joerg. 2015. University reform: The founding of the American Association of University Professors. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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              Written by a AAUP officer, this book covers the period from the AAUP’s founding in 1915 through the post–World War I Red Scare. Tiede argues that the organization aspired to broad influence on university governance, but kept finding itself thrust back into defending academic freedom.

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              Surveys and Essay Collections

              This section includes essay collections covering a wide range of topics, along with surveys covering a long time span. Finkin and Post 2009, the best overall history of academic freedom available, covers over one hundred years of academic freedom and explores important theoretical issues. Hamilton 1995 takes a more schematic historical approach and criticizes the AAUP for being too passive during crises. DelFattore 2010 considers academic freedom in both K–12 and higher education. Fish 2014 is one of the author’s several books on the subject and takes a highly individualistic stance on the issues. The essays in Menand 1996, by a variety of authors, and O’Neil 1997, all by O’Neil himself, although two decades old, are still highly relevant, cover a wide range of issues, and can be used in conjunction with Bilgrami and Cole 2015 and Turk 2014.

              • Bilgrami, Akeel, and Jonathan R. Cole, eds. 2015. Who’s afraid of academic freedom? New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                Seventeen scholarly essays on a wide variety of topics, with different political viewpoints, including Robert Post on “Academic Freedom and the Constitution,” Noam Chomsky on “Academic Freedom and the Subservience to Power,” and Stanley Fish on “Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities.”

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                • DelFattore, Joan. 2010. Knowledge in the making: Academic freedom and free speech in America’s schools and universities. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                  Surveys academic freedom at all levels of schooling in the United States and details the differences between K–12 and higher education. Deals with recent issues, including the possible consequences of Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006), which limited free speech rights of public employees but seemed to provide exemption for academics.

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                  • Finkin, Matthew W., and Robert C. Post. 2009. For the common good: Principles of American academic freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                    Written by two legal scholars long associated with the AAUP. Provides a concise, precise introduction to the history and theory of academic freedom in the United States, with close attention to freedoms of research, teaching, and extramural speech. The best brief, single volume on the history and theory of academic freedom.

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                    • Fish, Stanley. 2014. Versions of academic freedom: From professionalism to revolution. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                      DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226170251.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      A noted contrarian’s pithy critique of five “schools” of academic freedom: “It’s just a job”; “for the common good”; “academic exceptionalism or uncommon beings”; “academic freedom as critique”; and “academic freedom as revolution.” Explains why he finds most of them invalid.

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                      • Hamilton, Neil. 1995. Zealotry and academic freedom: A legal and historical perspective. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                        Identifies six “waves” of zealotry, from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, when academic freedom was under attack, then compares them to the seventh, postmodern wave, which Hamilton finds most dangerous because it does not accept the preeminence or even validity of academic freedom as a value.

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                        • Menand, Louis, ed. 1996. The future of academic freedom. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                          Essays by distinguished scholars, including Henry Louis Gates (“Critical Race Theory and Freedom of Speech”), Cass Sunstein (“Academic Freedom and Law: Liberalism, Speech Codes, and Related Problems”), Joan Scott, Edward Said, Richard Rorty, Ronald Dworkin, and others. Thomas Haskell’s is a particularly rigorous effort to deal with postmodern theory.

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                          • O’Neil, Robert. 1997. Free speech in the college community. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                            Lucid essays on end-of-the-20th-century campus issues, including speech codes, student newspapers, artistic freedom, religion in public institutions, freedom of speech in private ones, and more, by Robert O’Neil, former president of the University of Virginia and director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

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                            • Turk, James L., ed. 2014. Academic freedom in conflict: The struggle over free speech rights in the university. Toronto: James Lorimer.

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                              Up-to-date collection of fifteen essays on a range of topics by experts, including David Rabban and Matthew Finkin. Topics include academic freedom’s relationship to institutional autonomy, disciplinary norms, religious belief, educational equity, and university-industry collaborations. Examines both Canadian and American universities.

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                              Academic Freedom Before 1915

                              There were few precursors of academic freedom in Europe before German universities created what became the most influential model in the 19th century. Before the end of that century, there was no real philosophy of academic freedom in the United States. The typical American college was a tiny institution by today’s standards, with authority vested in the trustees and exercised by the president. The president was usually the chief instructional officer—one of a handful of professors (sometimes the only one), he controlled employment agreements and working conditions. There was no formal tenure. Faculty could be (and were) dismissed for any reason; religious differences were a common one.

                              Academia before Academic Freedom

                              The idea of academic freedom evolved gradually, in the face of intolerance based on religious beliefs and intellectual convictions asserting that unregulated inquiry was unnecessary, even dangerous or heretical. The emergence of the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason, empiricism, and discoverable natural law, was the single most important paradigm shift that sparked ideas about the need for free inquiry. But even before Newton, Locke, and the others, ideas about such a need were germinating. Courtenay 1989 and Hoye 1997 explore its remote roots, Metzger 1955a and Metzger 1955b (both Metzger’s article and his book) examine 19th-century German origins, Eaton 1962 provides a case study of religious objections to teaching evolution in the late-19th century South, and Dewey 1902 prefigures many of the concepts and concerns that would eventually appear in the 1915 American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Declaration of Principles.

                              • Courtenay, William J. June 1989. Inquiry and inquisition: Academic freedom in medieval universities. Church History 58.2: 168–181.

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                                How the church in Europe allowed open debate on some issues and foreclosed it on others, with scholars within the university given more autonomy than people outside it.

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                                • Dewey, John. 1902. Academic freedom. Educational Review 23:1–14.

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                                  Essay by one of the prime movers behind the AAUP that anticipates many of the ideas of the “Declaration of Principles.” Dewey was optimistic about academic freedom’s future, but conceded that it was more likely to thrive in science than social science. Reprinted in Shaping the American Educational State, edited by Clarence J. Karier (New York: Free Press, 1975), pp. 52–62.

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                                  • Eaton, Clement. 1962. Professor James Woodrow and the freedom of teaching in the South. Journal of Southern History 28.1: 3–17.

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                                    In the 1880s, James Woodrow, a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia, argued that evolution was not contrary to the teachings of the Bible or the church, but he was denied the right to teach evolution. He appealed (unsuccessfully) to the Southern Presbyterian Church. His case is mentioned in several of the surveys.

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                                    • Hofstadter, Richard. 1955. Academic freedom in the age of the college. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                                      This classic study of the years before 1860, written at the height of the McCarthy period, compiles incident after incident of what would come to be considered violations of academic freedom. Its view of the “old-time” college is now dated, but still useful. The first edition contains no index.

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                                      • Hoye, William J. September 1997. The religious roots of academic freedom. Theological Studies 58.3: 409–428.

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                                        Examines religious and secular roots of academic freedom in the Middle Ages and then in the Enlightenment, the latter including the cases of Christian Wolff, Immanuel Kant, and Gottlieb Fichte.

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                                        • Metzger, Walter P. 1955a. Academic freedom in the age of the university. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                                          This companion volume to Hofstadter 1955 covers emergence of the concept of academic freedom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, up to AAUP’s 1915 “Statement of Principles.” There is no index.

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                                          • Metzger, Walter P. 1955b. The German contribution to the American theory of academic freedom. Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors 41.2: 214–230.

                                            DOI: 10.2307/40221079Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            How German ideas about wissenschaft, lehrfreiheit, and lernfreiheit were brought to the United States and modified in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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                                            Important Cases

                                            The late-19th and early-20th-century incidents described in these works contributed to the evolution of ideas about academic freedom and to the growing conviction among leading academics that abuses, particularly by university trustees and administrators, required organization and a carefully articulated philosophy. Growing networks of professional scholars made it possible to share ideas and news. Hansen 1998 shows the University of Wisconsin’s importance to this movement. Bergquist 1972 examines the Bemis case at the University of Chicago; Donnan 1952 looks at how newspapers reported the controversy over President E. Benjamin Andrews at Brown University; and Mohr 1970 discusses one of the most publicized incidents, Edward Ross’s firing at Stanford University. Rivaling it for notoriety, Scott Nearing’s dismissal by the University of Pennsylvania was reported at the time in Witmer 1915. Not all cases became public sensations, and not all firings were instigated by trustees, as Spoehr 1975 shows when presenting the particulars of the Goebel and Rolfe cases at Stanford.

                                            • Bergquist, Harold E., Jr. 1972. The Edward W. Bemis controversy at the University of Chicago. AAUP Bulletin 58.4: 384–393.

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                                              Presents circumstances surrounding the 1895 dismissal of Prof. Bemis by University of Chicago president William Rainey Harper. The roles played by the institution’s founder, John D. Rockefeller, and Bemis’s department chair, Albion Small, are also examined.

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                                              • Donnan, Elizabeth. 1952. A nineteenth-century academic cause celebre. New England Quarterly 25.1: 23–46.

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                                                Examines public reaction when the Corporation of Brown University forced the resignation of the University’s president, E. Benjamin Andrews, in 1897, because trustees thought his views on “free silver” would discourage wealthy donors—particularly the Rockefellers—from contributing to Brown.

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                                                • Hansen, W. Lee, ed. 1998. Academic freedom on trial: One hundred years of sifting and winnowing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Office of Univ. Publications.

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                                                  Most useful for seven essays about the case of economist Richard T. Ely (1894), and also contains other essays germane to the history of academic freedom at Wisconsin and some other institutions.

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                                                  • Mohr, James C. 1970. Academic turmoil and public opinion: The Ross case at Stanford. Pacific Historical Review 39.1: 39–61.

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                                                    When Stanford University’s surviving founder, Jane Lathrop Stanford, insisted that President David Starr Jordan fire Prof. Edward A. Ross, the middle-class public of the Progressive Era saw it as an example of “the interests” imposing their will in an arena where they should not meddle.

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                                                    • Spoehr, Luther W. 1975. Enforcing the code, 1905–1913. In Progress’ pilgrim: David Starr Jordan and the circle of reform, 1891–1931. By Luther W. Spoehr, 161–258. PhD diss., Stanford Univ.

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                                                      Stanford president David Starr Jordan, who had been caught in the middle between Jane Stanford, the University’s surviving founder, and Professor Edward Ross in 1900, took the initiative and fired two faculty members—professor of German Julius Goebel and classicist Henry Rolfe—after Mrs. Stanford’s death in 1905.

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                                                      • Witmer, Lightner. 1915. The Nearing case: The limitation of academic freedom at the University of Pennsylvania by act of the board of trustees, June 14, 1915; A brief of acts and opinions. New York: B. W. Huebsch.

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                                                        Scott Nearing’s firing by the University of Pennsylvania’s trustees for his social and political views resulted in one of the first cases taken up by the AAUP. Witmer, then a Penn faculty member, compiled articles on the case and added his own commentary. Da Capo Press reprint published in 1974.

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                                                        Emergence of the AAUP, Consolidation and Controversies, 1915–1970

                                                        Responding to a quarter-century of firings and arbitrary abuses (most notoriously by wealthy patrons of universities), and taking advantage of the Progressive Era’s belief in the power of specialized expertise to achieve social progress, the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) organizers issued their “Declaration of Principles” in 1915. But academic freedom took a step backward during World War I, when critics inside and outside higher education charged that “unpatriotic” speech and behavior rendered numerous faculty unfit for employment. The AAUP did not respond strongly, but at least one faculty member, Columbia University historian Charles Beard, resigned specifically to protest academic intolerance. In the decades after the war, academic freedom became established in more and more colleges and universities, as institutions, wanting to attract or retain prestigious faculty, and urged on by a growing number of professional organizations, made formal, binding commitments to principles of governance that recognized academic freedom. Despite anti-radical investigations, spurred by government and popular outcry, in the 1920s and 1930s, and even more serious abuses during the “Second Red Scare” in the 1940s and 1950s, academic freedom became a “given,” particularly for the most prestigious institutions and those wishing to become prestigious. In 1967, in the presence of unprecedented student unrest and demands for involvement in the university, the AAUP issued a statement on “Rights and Freedoms of Students,” its first real attempt to address lernfreiheit. And in 1970, as turbulence continued, the AAUP issued additional “Interpretive Comments.”

                                                        The “Declaration of Principles” (1915) and “Statement of Principles” (1940)

                                                        The AAUP’s “Declaration of Principles” (American Association of University Professors 1915) inaugurated ongoing efforts to formalize and institutionalize standards of academic freedom and tenure. Resistance from both inside and outside the university made progress difficult and uneven, but it occurred nonetheless. The AAUP “Statement of Principles” (1940) articulated more precise and specific expectations, and was in turn explicated by “Interpretive Comments” (American Association of University Professors 1970).

                                                        World War I and the First Red Scare

                                                        Wartime crisis and then fear of Bolshevik radicalism provided the basis for many attempts to dismiss “disloyal” faculty. Columbia University may have been the epicenter of conflicts over academic freedom during the Great War. President Nicholas Murray Butler (Butler 1917) led the way. McCaughey 2003 details Butler’s fractious relations with faculty. Professor Charles Beard (Beard 1917) resigned in protest. Wilcox 1993 paints a similar picture at the University of Michigan. Wartime intolerance blended seamlessly into the “First Red Scare,” which continued throughout the interwar years. Gruber 1975 examines events during the Great War itself, while Slaughter 1980 looks at the entire period, as does Cain 2012, discussing organizations in addition to the AAUP. The Time article “Let There Be No Doubt” noted that when Butler made essentially the same speech in 1940, he encountered a very different reaction.

                                                        • Beard, Charles A. 1917. Charles A. Beard resignation letter. (8 October).

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                                                          Beard resigned to protest Columbia University’s treatment of Prof. James McKeen Cattell, Prof. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana, and others.

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                                                          • Butler, Nicholas Murray. 1917. Oust traitors, says Butler. New York Times, 7 June.

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                                                            According to Butler, the wartime emergency required restrictions on academic freedom: “What had been tolerated before became intolerable now. What had been wrong-headed before was now sedition. What had been folly was now treason.” Available online by subscription.

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                                                            • Cain, Timothy Reese. 2012. Establishing academic freedom: Politics, principles, and the development of core values. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

                                                              DOI: 10.1057/9781137009548Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Focusing on the years between 1915 and 1940, Cain examines the American Association of Colleges, the American Federation of Teachers, and other organizations to show how academic freedom and tenure came to be defined in the era between the wars.

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                                                              • Gruber, Carol S. 1975. Mars and Minerva: World War I and the uses of the higher learning in America. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press.

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                                                                Gruber examines both violations of academic freedom during the Great War and the rush of academics to provide services to the wartime government, the latter being a prelude to what was to become, in Clark Kerr’s 1963 phrase, the “federal grant university.”

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                                                                • Let there be no doubt. 1940. Time Magazine, 14 October.

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                                                                  Butler’s statement was widely criticized, both on and off campus. John Dewey said Butler’s speech was “identical, as far as it goes, with totalitarianism.”

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                                                                  • McCaughey, Robert. 2003. 1917: Twilight of idols. In Stand Columbia: A history of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754–2004. Edited by McCaughey, 234–255. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                                                                    Narrates President Nicholas Murray Butler’s increasingly imperious stance toward Columbia’s faculty from the beginning of his administration in 1901 through World War I.

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                                                                    • Slaughter, Sheila. March 1980. The danger zone: Academic freedom and civil liberties. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 448:46–61.

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                                                                      Slaughter argues that the AAUP refrained from defending professors dismissed for political reasons between World War I and World War II, especially those in trouble for extramural speech, and focused instead on establishing tenure. Particular attention is given to City College faculty investigated by New York’s Rapp-Coudert Committee.

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                                                                      • Wilcox, Clifford. Spring 1993. World War I and the attack on professors of German at the University of Michigan. History of Education Quarterly 33.1: 59–84.

                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/368520Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Both internal and external pressures worked against German professors, including professors of German, during the Great War. The wartime push for “100% Americanism” was engineered by politicians and citizens’ groups off campus; on campus, faculty and administrators were willing to mobilize wartime intolerance against rivals and people they merely disliked.

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                                                                        The Second Red Scare

                                                                        In the late 1940s, well before Sen. Joseph McCarthy gave his first anti-Communist speech, and deep into the 1950s, long after McCarthy was “condemned” by the Senate, the Cold War and its attendant anxieties about the Soviet threat and Communist subversion fueled efforts to root out not only Communists or former Communists, but also Communist “sympathizers,” “fellow travelers,” “Fifth-Amendment Communists,” and “dupes.” Public institutions—including both universities and K–12 school districts—were especially vulnerable because they depended on public funding. Hook 1949 and Meiklejohn 1949 debated whether Communists should be allowed in classrooms. As Association of American Universities 1953 demonstrates, universities often bent in the wind. Gasman 1999, Lewis 1993, and Sanders 1979 focus on Fisk University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Washington, respectively. Schrecker 1986 looks at a wide range of cases and institutions. In Sweezy v. New Hampshire, the Supreme Court took a stand. In addition to the items in this section, the McCarthy era is analyzed in Hamilton 1995 (cited under Surveys and Essay Collections).

                                                                        • Association of American Universities. 1953. The rights and responsibilities of universities and their faculties. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Dept. of Public Relations.

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                                                                          Organization representing thirty-seven leading universities responds to legislative inquiries into faculty behavior and association by defending their loyalty, then asserting that faculty have an “obligation to candor” and should answer questions about Communist Party affiliation, subversive activities, and the like.

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                                                                          • Gasman, Marybeth. Winter 1999. Scylla and Charybdis: Navigating the waters of academic freedom at Fisk University during Charles S. Johnson’s administration (1946–1956). American Educational Research Journal 36.4: 739–758.

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                                                                            The president and board of trustees of a prominent historically black college dismissed a professor accused of being a Communist and were found guilty by the AAUP of violating academic freedom.

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                                                                            • Hook, Sidney. 1949. Should Communists be permitted to teach? New York Times, 27 February.

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                                                                              No, says Sidney Hook, a philosopher and himself a former radical, in his side of a debate with Alexander Meiklejohn. He argues that Communists are not intellectually autonomous and therefore cannot be trusted. Access is available to New York Times subscribers.

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                                                                              • Lewis, Lionel S. 1993. The Cold War and academic governance: The Lattimore case at Johns Hopkins. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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                                                                                Sen. McCarthy said that he would “stand or fall” on the case of Owen Lattimore, one of the “China hands” blamed for American policy that led to the “loss of China” in 1949. Lewis examines the case in detail, including Johns Hopkins’s sometimes inconsistent but relatively successful defense of Lattimore.

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                                                                                • Meiklejohn, Alexander. 1949. Should Communists be allowed to teach? New York Times, 27 March.

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                                                                                  Yes, says Alexander Meiklejohn, civil libertarian and former president of Amherst College, as he debates Sidney Hook in the New York Times. Access is available to New York Times subscribers. Also available in Edward E. Palmer, ed., The Communist Problem in America (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company 1951), pp. 179–186.

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                                                                                  • Sanders, Jane. 1979. Cold War on the campus: Academic freedom at the University of Washington, 1948–64. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press.

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                                                                                    A public university, dependent on state government for funding, the University of Washington was particularly vulnerable to political pressure. It was the first to dismiss tenured professors for “subversion,” and the wrangling among regents, administrators, faculty, and politicians continued into the 1960s, until loyalty oaths were successfully contested.

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                                                                                    • Schrecker, Ellen W. 1986. No ivory tower: McCarthyism and the universities. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                      Historian’s exhaustive compilation of the prosecutions and persecutions carried out against alleged Communists and Communist sympathizers in universities, public and private, large and small, famous and obscure, in the 1950s. Faculty had to decide whether to cooperate; administrators had to decide how to preserve their institutions’ reputations.

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                                                                                      • Sweezy v. New Hampshire. 364 U.S.234, 1957.

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                                                                                        The Supreme Court’s record of the first important case to link academic freedom with the Constitution. Political radical Paul Sweezy, invited to speak at the University of New Hampshire, was prosecuted as a subversive under state law. The court said Sweezy’s academic freedom and the University of New Hampshire’s institutional academic freedom were violated.

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                                                                                        The (Long) 1960s

                                                                                        A decade and more of unprecedented campus unrest—sparked by, among other things, activism involving civil rights and Black Power, the anti–Vietnam War movement, the emerging women’s and student rights movements—led to controversies over the meaning and importance of academic freedom. Many of the roots of the “culture wars” of subsequent decades can be located in that time. Billingsley 1999 examines controversy at the University of North Carolina over a 1963 law limiting who could speak on campus. Hook 1965 and Hook 1971 show reactions to the 1964 Free Speech Movement and other movements at the University of California at Berkeley and beyond. Goldstein 1992 outlines in detail the debate over secret, government-funded weapons research at the University of Pennsylvania. American Association of University Professors 2015 constitutes the AAUP’s limited response to student demands for rights and freedoms in 1967. Hofstadter 1968 is a noted scholar’s agonized plea after the uproar at Columbia University. McCaughey 2003 provides detailed narration of events at Columbia. Downs 1999 takes a critical look at the armed student rebellion on Cornell University’s campus in 1969, while Altschuler and Kramnick 2014 offers a more neutral account. Packer 1972 defends the dismissal of Prof. H. Bruce Franklin from Stanford University, while Franklin 1972 offers the professor’s rebuttal.

                                                                                        • Altschuler, Glenn C., and Isaac Kramnick. 2014. Race at Cornell. In Cornell: A history, 1940–2015. By Glenn C. Altschuler and Isaac Kramnick, 155–203. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                          Combined with “The Wars at Home” (pp. 204–240), provides a narrative of events at Cornell in 1969, including the takeover of Willard Straight Hall by armed black students, punctuated by the dramatic statement that “Cornell University has three hours to live.”

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                                                                                          • American Association of University Professors. 2015. Joint statement on rights and freedoms of students. In Policy documents and reports. 11th ed. Edited by American Association of University Professors, 381–386. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                            As a tumultuous decade came to a boil in 1967, the AAUP addressed lernfreiheit, although by then student demands had often extended far beyond the classroom and into other realms of university governance.

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                                                                                            • Billingsley, William J. 1999. Communists on campus: Race, politics, and the public university in sixties North Carolina. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press.

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                                                                                              In 1963, North Carolina passed a law banning “known members of the Communist Party” and “Fifth-Amendment Communists” from speaking on public university campuses. Billingsley links it to concerns about the civil rights movement and the likelihood of increased black political participation, and delineates how students organized to resist.

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                                                                                              • Downs, Donald Alexander. 1999. Cornell ’69: Liberalism and the crisis of the American university. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                This narrative of the dramatic events at Cornell University in 1969 is critical of the armed student radicals who took over Straight Hall and the administration that gave in to many of their demands.

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                                                                                                • Franklin, Bruce. 1972. The real issues in my case. Change 4.5 (June): 31–39.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/00091383.1972.10568165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Dismissed Stanford professor presents his case.

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                                                                                                  • Goldstein, Jonathan. 1992. Agent Orange on campus: The Summit-Spicerack Controversy at the University of Pennsylvania, 1965–1967. In Sights on the sixties. Edited by Barbara L. Tischler, 43–61. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                    Does academic freedom include the right to conduct secret research for the government? Who has the right to determine what kinds of research may and may not be carried out on campus? All of these questions were raised, but not resolved, at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1960s.

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                                                                                                    • Hofstadter, Richard. 1968. Columbia University commencement address for the 214th academic year. The American Scholar 37:583–589.

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                                                                                                      Commencement speech given on 4 June 1968, in the wake of the turmoil that spring at Columbia University. Historian Richard Hofstadter’s plea for the integrity and autonomy of the university has been reprinted in many places. A recording of the speech is available online.

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                                                                                                      • Hook, Sidney. 1965. Academic freedom and the rights of students. In Revolution at Berkeley. Edited by Michael V. Miller and Susan Gilmore, 32–41. New York: Dial Press.

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                                                                                                        Philosopher Sidney Hook’s quick response to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.

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                                                                                                        • Hook, Sidney, ed. 1971. In defense of academic freedom. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.

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                                                                                                          Written after several years of campus unrest. The title indicates the overall viewpoint taken in the twenty essays by the authors, including Charles Frankel, Henry Steele Commager, John Searle, Bruno Bettelheim, Kenneth Clark, and others.

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                                                                                                          • McCaughey, Robert. 2003. Riding the whirlwind: Columbia ’68. In Stand Columbia: A history of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754–2004. Edited by MCCaughey, 423–461. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                            Combined with the chapter “It’s About Columbia” (pp. 462–489), presents a detailed narrative of the events at Columbia in 1968, which dealt with the controversy over building a gym in Harlem, the university’s ties to the Institute for Defense Analysis, and black students’ demands for changes in curriculum and admissions.

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                                                                                                            • Packer, Herbert L. 1972. Academic freedom & the Franklin case. Commentary, 1 April: 78–84.

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                                                                                                              Self-described Maoist revolutionary H. Bruce Franklin, a tenured English professor at Stanford, was dismissed (by vote of a panel elected by the faculty) for inciting a campus crowd to violence. Herbert Packer, a Stanford law professor, makes the case that Franklin’s dismissal was justified.

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                                                                                                              Recent and Contemporary Controversies

                                                                                                              Arguments about academic freedom have shifted over the past 125 years from concerns about arbitrary interventions by founders and boards of trustees, to fear of external political pressure in the name of “loyalty,” to alarm about the possibility of businesses trying to control the direction and even the conclusions of faculty research, as well as the possibility of undue influence being exerted by political groups, foreign countries, or the American government itself. Students, faculty, and administration also wrestle with questions about what constitutes acceptable speech and appropriate pedagogy: what they are, and who gets to decide.

                                                                                                              Essay Collections and Overviews

                                                                                                              The books in this section discuss the changing role and importance of faculty governance over time, with an emphasis on recent years. Gerber 2014 and Bowen and Tobin 2015 focus on long-term changes and developments in faculty governance—the latter seems more sympathetic to presidential prerogatives. Nelson 2010 and Schrecker 2010 emphatically defend the faculty role and place academic freedom at the very center of the university. So, in a somewhat more detached way, does O’Neil 2008. Williams 2016 provides a comprehensive, up-to-date intellectual history of recent developments that cumulatively enforce conformity.

                                                                                                              • Bowen, William G., and Eugene M. Tobin. 2015. Locus of authority: The evolution of faculty roles in the governance of higher education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/9781400865635Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Supplies clear, brief “Historical Overview” of university governance, then argues that recent cultural, financial, and technological developments require colleges to adapt. Four case studies (University of California, Princeton, Macalester College, City University of New York) provide illustrations of how they can go about it.

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                                                                                                                • Gerber, Larry G. 2014. The rise and decline of faculty governance: Professionalization and the modern American university. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                  Gerber begins with a brief treatment of “College Governance before 1876,” then examines the “emergence of a professional faculty before 1920,” the development of “shared governance” from 1920 through its mid-century heyday, and its decline in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His careful focus on that role sets his book apart.

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                                                                                                                  • Nelson, Cary. 2010. No university is an island: Saving academic freedom. New York: New York Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814758595.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Former AAUP president vehemently defends “the three-legged stool: academic freedom, shared governance, and tenure.” The book deals with a broad range of concerns, including unionization and contingent labor, “political correctness,” “authoritarian administration,” federal overregulation, and other threats from both the Right and the Left, from a faculty perspective.

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                                                                                                                    • O’Neil, Robert. 2008. Academic freedom in the wired world: Political extremism, corporate power, and the university. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                      Ten essays by a longtime student of academic freedom—a former president of the University of Virginia and director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression—on contemporary concerns, most notably how new technology and political controversies affect the theory and practice of academic freedom.

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                                                                                                                      • Schrecker, Ellen. 2010. The lost soul of higher education: Corporatization, the assault on academic freedom, and the end of the American university. New York: New Press.

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                                                                                                                        A “plea to and for the faculty” delineating recent and current threats to academic freedom, including the impact of politicized off-campus pressure groups, shrinking public support, decrease in full-time faculty, an intrusive federal government, and structural changes (particularly the growing power of administration) within the university itself.

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                                                                                                                        • Williams, Joanna. 2016. Academic freedom in an age of conformity: Confronting the fear of knowledge. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1057/9781137514790Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          British scholar examines American and British higher education to provide an incisive explanation of why academic freedom has lost much of its luster in parts of academia. Looks at how critical theory and postmodernism have undermined the disciplines and ponders a possible transition from “academic freedom” to “academic justice.”

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                                                                                                                          Corporatization, Tenure, and Contingent Labor

                                                                                                                          The challenges to academic freedom in the late 20th and early 21st centuries arise from developments both inside and outside the academy. Especially concerning is the influence of private funding of faculty research, particularly but not exclusively in medicine, that binds researchers to secrecy, thus impeding the free flow of knowledge in the academy, and a second concern: the changing composition of the faculty. With most courses now taught by adjuncts, paid by the course and with no guarantee of future employment, instructors are vulnerable to political and institutional pressures that endanger lehrfreiheit. Arnold 2000 looks back at some of the roots of contemporary issues in the 1970s, when unionizing professors had to wrestle with the potential contradictions involved when pursuing both employee rights and professional ones. More recently, in the ongoing debate over whether tenure is essential and/or useful, Amacher and Meiners 2004 and authors in Chait 2002 argue for modifying it, while Bousquet 2008 and writers in Finkin 1996 mount a strong defense. Washburn 2005 criticizes corporatization and its effects on the university; Berube and Ruth 2015 laments the effects of growing reliance on temporary, untenured, adjunct faculty in the humanities; while writers in Nocella, et al. 2010 deprecate these and other facets of the 21st-century university.

                                                                                                                          • Amacher, Ryan C., and Roger E. Meiners. 2004. Faulty towers: Tenure and the structure of higher education. Oakland, CA: Independent Institute.

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                                                                                                                            Amacher, an economist and former president of the University of Texas at Arlington, and Meiners, an economist at Texas and the conservative Independent Institute, provide a brief history of tenure and argue that it should be preserved but modified with market-based practices to ensure faculty and institutional accountability.

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                                                                                                                            • Arnold, Gordon B. 2000. The politics of faculty unionization: The experience of three New England universities. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

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                                                                                                                              Studies faculty unionization efforts at the Universities of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, between 1970 and 1976, when era of faculty growth was ending. Questions about the compatibility of employee rights and professional rights, and the relative importance of academic freedom, complicated the debate then, and still do.

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                                                                                                                              • Berube, Michael, and Jennifer Ruth. 2015. The humanities, higher education, and academic freedom. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1057/9781137506122Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Two English professors contend that the ongoing “crisis of the humanities” derives from the rapid growth of contingent employment, not in the humanities’ retreat from relevance. Particularly interesting in its discussion of “universalism” and how the humanities, properly explored and presented, can both defend and critique it.

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                                                                                                                                • Bousquet, Marc. 2008. How the university works: Higher education and the low-wage nation. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                  Bousquet, an English professor at Santa Clara University and the founding editor of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, examines faculty employment through a labor/management lens, with particular attention to cases involving Yeshiva University (1980) and Brown University (2004) regarding unionization at private institutions.

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                                                                                                                                  • Chait, Richard P., ed. 2002. The questions of tenure. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                    Eleven essays edited by Richard Chait, a leading academic critic of tenure. The large question that all of them confront: Is tenure necessary for academic freedom? Based on employment policy data from over two hundred colleges and universities, the book compares governance at colleges with and without tenure.

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                                                                                                                                    • Finkin, Matthew W., ed. 1996. The case for tenure. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

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                                                                                                                                      Collection of essays and primary sources by various authors; presents case studies and analyzes the rationale for tenure when dealing with issues such as probation, dismissal, post-tenure review, and mandatory retirement. Finkin concludes, “The system is far better for society than any substitute suggested thus far” (p. 216).

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                                                                                                                                      • Nocella, Anthony J., Steven Best, and Peter McLaren, eds. 2010. Academic repression: Reflections from the academic-industrial complex. Edinburgh: AK Press.

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                                                                                                                                        Thirty-three essays, most fewer than twenty pages long, from a leftist perspective by authors such as Henry Giroux, Bill Ayers, and others, on various topics, including “Dispatches from the Margins: Gender, Race, Sex, and Abilities,” “Fast Times in Corporate Higher Ed,” and “Twilight of Academia: Critical Pedagogy, Engaged Intellectuals, and Political Resistance.”

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                                                                                                                                        • Washburn, Jennifer. 2005. University, Inc.: The corporate corruption of higher education. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                                          A muckraking, anecdotal, journalistic account of how universities became moneymakers after the Bayh-Dole Act (1980), which allowed them to profit from publicly funded patents and copyrights. As government funding dwindled, corporations stepped in and created the “academic-industrial complex,” imposing more rules and limiting the sharing of knowledge.

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                                                                                                                                          The First Amendment and the University

                                                                                                                                          Academic freedom is not identical to free speech, but in some areas the two overlap, especially in public universities. Smolla 2011, Post 2013, and Olivas 2013 examine legal and constitutional issues in detail. On-campus controversies increasingly attract involvement from off-campus organizations. Lukianoff 2014 shows how the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) works to protect a strict construction of free speech on campus, usually in conjunction with students or faculty who find official university policies on issues such as “hate speech” and “free speech zones” objectionable. DelFattore 2011 and Wright 2007 look at the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006), which limited the free speech rights of public employees but was explicitly noncommittal on professorial speech.

                                                                                                                                          • DelFattore, Joan. 2011. Defending academic freedom in the age of Garcetti. Academe 97.1 (January–February): 18–21.

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                                                                                                                                            The Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos limiting free speech for public employees has implications for academic freedom at public universities. Article available on the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) website.

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                                                                                                                                            • Lukianoff, Greg. 2014. Unlearning liberty: Campus censorship and the end of American debate. New York: Encounter Books.

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                                                                                                                                              How the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) works to “defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities . . . [including] freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty and sanctity of conscience,” sometimes in cooperation with organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

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                                                                                                                                              • Olivas, Michael A. 2013. Suing alma mater: Higher education and the courts. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                Law professor Michael Olivas looks at late-20th-century litigation involving discrimination and the law, including “hate speech” and race-based admissions. He offers detailed analysis of six cases, including Hopwood v. Texas (affirmative action in admissions) and Garcetti v. Ceballos (addressing whether public employees have free speech rights), and considers the role of “purposive organizations” such as the ACLU in bringing these cases to court.

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                                                                                                                                                • Post, Robert C. 2013. Democracy, expertise, and academic freedom: A First Amendment jurisprudence for the modern state. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  Post, dean of Yale Law School, argues that the university is not simply a “marketplace of ideas” where “everybody is entitled to his own opinion,” and distinguishes between academic freedom, which creates and preserves conditions in which expert opinion can emerge, and free speech in the public arena.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Smolla, Rodney A. 2011. The Constitution goes to college: Five constitutional ideas that have shaped the American university. New York: New York Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741030.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Chapter 2, “Academic Freedom and the Living Constitution,” illustrates ways in which the Constitution has shaped and influenced ideas about academic freedom.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Wright, George. 2007. The emergence of First Amendment academic freedom. Nebraska Law Review 85:793–829.

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                                                                                                                                                      Surveys the “controversy and uncertainty” of First Amendment law and its connection to institutional and individual academic freedom in the wake of the Garcetti case.

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                                                                                                                                                      “Hate Speech” and “Microaggressions”

                                                                                                                                                      While radicals, particularly students, in the 1960s criticized the university through the lens of political ideology, questioning the institution’s ability to be autonomous and objective, activists in recent years have couched their arguments in psychological terms, claiming “hate speech” and “microaggressions” do psychological harm equivalent to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is usually associated with injuries suffered in combat and other violent situations. Such critics, frequently drawing upon postmodern theory, argue that no single objective legal standard can be fair to everyone, and that such standards must be tailored to accommodate the rights and needs of marginalized groups, even if it means limiting free speech and academic freedom. Opponents pushed back early and often: Heumann and Church 1997 documents this phase of the 1990s culture wars. Rauch 1993 and Kors and Silverglate 1998 reject ideas of different rights for different groups and limits on free expression. Downs 2004 presents incidents at four universities that ended with different results. Lefkowitz 2008 addresses possible abuses of academic freedom at Wellesley. Powers 2015 provides an anecdote-filled account of “silencing” throughout society, with two chapters specifically devoted to campus issues. Schmidt 2015 traces the history of the term “microaggression” and its growing usage, while Volokh 2015 decries developments for faculty at the University of California.

                                                                                                                                                      • Downs, Donald Alexander. 2004. Restoring free speech and liberty on campus. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511509780Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Four case studies from the early 21st century: at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin, free speech came under attack but was protected; at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University, the attacks were more successful. Asks whether the purpose of the university is (and should be) changing, and critiques “critical race theory.”

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                                                                                                                                                        • Heumann, Milton, and Thomas W. Church. 1997. Hate speech on campus: Cases, case studies, and commentary. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                          Includes court cases and commentary about events and policies at the University of Michigan, Brown University, University of Wisconsin, Dartmouth, and Duke, and issues such as “hostile environment,” “hurtful speech,” and others from the mid-1990s.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Kors, Alan Charles, and Harvey A. Silverglate. 1998. The shadow university: The betrayal of liberty on America’s campuses. New York: Free Press.

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                                                                                                                                                            Alan Charles Kors, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvey Silverglate, a Massachusets civil liberties lawyer—a conservative and a liberal— combine to look at threats to free expression and academic freedom on campus. The two founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

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                                                                                                                                                            • Lefkowitz, Mary. 2008. History lesson: A race odyssey. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                              Classicist writes about her encounters with issues of race, professional standards and competence, and collegiality at Wellesley College in the 1990s. Tony Martin, African American scholar and Lefkowitz’s main antagonist, gives his version of events in The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront (Dover, MA: The Majority Press, 1993).

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                                                                                                                                                              • Powers, Kirsten. 2015. The silencing: How the left is killing free speech. Washington, DC: Regnery.

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                                                                                                                                                                Fox News’s “resident liberal” compiles dozens of examples of “silencing.” Most relevant to academic freedom are two chapters (“Intolerance 101: Shutting Down Debate” and “Intolerance 102: Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee”) that chronicle recent, successful attempts to “disinvite” campus speakers and similar incidents.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Rauch, Jonathan. 1993. Kindly inquisitors: The new attacks on free thought. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Written in the midst of the “culture wars,” the book focuses on “free expression,” defined more broadly than just academic freedom. The chapter on “The Humanitarian Threat” is especially relevant today. Expanded edition issued in 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Schmidt, Peter. 2015. Campaigns against microaggressions prompt big concerns about free speech. Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 July.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Journalist traces origins of the term “microaggression” (back to the 1970s) and how its use has become widespread, appearing even in a new collective bargaining agreement at the University of Washington. Available online to subscribers. Commentary by Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, “Microaggression and Changing Moral Cultures,” also available online.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Volokh, Eugene. 2015. UC teaching faculty members not to criticize race-based affirmative action, call America “melting pot,” and more. Washington Post, 16 June.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Faculty member notes new guidelines, posted on an official website, for avoiding “microaggressions” in classrooms at the University of California, and argues that the effect will certainly be chilling. Among comments to avoid: “America is a melting pot,” “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” and the like.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Academic Freedom in the Wake of 9/11

                                                                                                                                                                      The books in this section focus on external threats to academic freedom in the United States, coming mainly from the federal government, which, since the terrorist attacks of 2001, has used public fear of terrorism to justify intruding upon the academic sphere. Doumani 2006 and Carvalho and Downing 2010 contain essays generally written from a left perspective, while essays in Hanley 2003 are less strident.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Carvalho, Edward J., and David B. Downing, eds. 2010. Academic freedom in the post-9/11 era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Essays that mount a broad-gauged attack on attempts, particularly by the federal government, to investigate and regulate academia on grounds of national security. Henry Giroux writes about “Academic Unfreedom”; Ward Churchill, the “Myth of Academic Freedom”; others criticize “neoconservative” and “neoliberal” perspectives, and also the media for “marketing McCarthyism.”

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Doumani, Beshara, ed. 2006. Academic freedom after September 11. New York: Zone Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Essays focusing mainly on threats to academic freedom from government actions such as the Patriot Act, contending that political discourse is particularly threatened, and debating just what academic freedom should mean in a such a politically stressed environment.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Hanley, Lawrence, ed. 2003. Special issue: Academic freedom and national security. Academe 89.3 (May–June).

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                                                                                                                                                                            Special issue of Academe on “Academic Freedom and National Security,” including essays by Robert O’Neil, Robert Post, and others.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Noteworthy Contemporary Cases

                                                                                                                                                                            Recent cases are covered fairly thoroughly in periodicals and on websites, particularly the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Incidents and issues addressed here often involve the perception of internal threats to academic freedom—that is, threats from within the university itself. Most recently, several books address issues of free expression and free speech that at least potentially impinge upon academic freedom itself.

                                                                                                                                                                            Ward Churchill and the University of Colorado

                                                                                                                                                                            A tenured University of Colorado professor, Ward Churchill first drew public attention for his comment that corporate employees in the World Trade Center were “little Eichmanns,” and then for deficiencies in his scholarship. Fired by the university, he appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court. Schrecker 2010 summarizes the events and analyzes the evidence in ways that Churchill 2012 finds unflattering, unfair, and inaccurate. Ward Churchill v. University of Colorado at Boulder is the amicus brief filed by three civil liberties organizations, while Jaschik 2013 brings the case to its conclusion.

                                                                                                                                                                            Steven Salaita and the University of Illinois

                                                                                                                                                                            Prof. Salaita was offered a tenured position in Indian Studies at the University of Illinois and had begun to perform some duties before the beginning of the Fall semester in 2014, when the University’s board of trustees, apparently concerned by comments he had made on social media about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, declined to approve his contract. He sued and won a substantial settlement, but did not become a faculty member at Illinois. Jaschik 2015 summarizes the narrative; Reichman, et al. 2015 presents the report from the AAUP’s Committee A; McMurtrie 2015 discusses widespread repercussions of the case; and Katz 2015 looks closely at the specifics and the larger implications for academic freedom.

                                                                                                                                                                            Laura Kipnis and Northwestern University

                                                                                                                                                                            When Prof. Laura Kipnis, in an essay about “sexual paranoia” on campus, mentioned a campus case, a graduate student involved in the case (but not named in the essay) charged that the essay was “retaliation” and created a “hostile environment” as defined by Title IX. Mangan 2015 provides a journalist’s narrative, while Kipnis 2015 tells the author’s own story. The case against her was ultimately dismissed, but concerns linger. Kipnis 2017 analyzes the author’s own case in more detail, undertakes close examination of other cases, and concludes with a plea for “grown-up feminism.”

                                                                                                                                                                            David Horowitz and the “Academic Bill of Rights”

                                                                                                                                                                            Conservative activist David Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights” (2003) aimed to redress what he saw as the imbalance of political viewpoints expressed in college classrooms, if necessary via state legislation or student intervention. Aby 2007 compiles viewpoints for and against Horowitz’s position and tactics, as well as three case studies of lobbying. Students for Academic Freedom is the website for Horowitz’s organization. Horowitz 2004 asserts that the author’s Academic Bill of Rights is entirely consistent with standard definitions of academic freedom. Fish 2004 examines this claim and concludes that Horowitz is playing verbal games.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Aby, Stephen. 2007. The Academic Bill of Rights debate: A handbook. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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                                                                                                                                                                              This book includes essays by Horowitz and his critics and case studies of legislative lobbying efforts in three states.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Fish, Stanley. 2004. “Intellectual diversity”: The Trojan horse of dark design. Chronicle of Higher Education, 13 February.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Stanley Fish, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, argues that David Horowitz and other conservative critics of higher education are playing a “double game,” appropriating the vocabulary of academic freedom and misapplying it to contemporary culture wars. “The Left,” he says, “may have won the curricular battle” on campus, “but the Right won the public-relations war.” One cannot simply “go from the general assertion that no humanly accessible truth is invulnerable to challenge to the conclusion that therefore challenges must always be provided” (quoted from article).

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Horowitz, David. 2004. In defense of intellectual diversity. Chronicle of Higher Education, 13 February.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  David Horowitz—conservative activist, author the Academic Bill of Rights, and founder of Students for Academic Freedom—argues that his call for intellectual diversity on campus, to be enforced by either on-campus or governmental authority, is “based squarely” on the principles of the AAUP: “The . . . intent of the Academic Bill of Rights is to remove partisan politics from the classroom.” He concludes that “requiring readings on more than one side of a political controversy would be appropriate educational policy and would strengthen, not weaken, the democracy that supports our educational system” (quoted from article).

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Students for Academic Freedom.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Website for David Horowitz’s organization, Students for Academic Freedom. Home page contains the Academic Bill of Rights.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Confrontations in the Classroom and on the Campus, 2015–2017

                                                                                                                                                                                    Some recent incidents, such as Reed College protesters carrying signs in Western Civilization classes day after day or Middlebury College students disrupting a presentation by conservative political scientist Charles Murray, directly involve academic freedom, no matter how narrowly defined. Others, such as the uproar over an e-mail about Halloween costumes at Yale, may involve academic freedom only indirectly, but they are arguably numerous enough and loud enough to have a chilling effect on academic freedom itself. Ben-Porath 2017; Chemerinsky and Gillman 2017; Fox 2016; Furedi 2017; Haslam 2016; Lukianoff and Haidt 2018; Whittington 2018; Zelinsky, et al. 2016; and Zimmerman 2016 all focus on many or all of these and similar recent incidents. Online coverage of events just after they happen is extensive, not only in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed but also in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and other periodicals, and serves as important source material for many of the books listed here.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ben-Porath, Sigal R. 2017. Free speech on campus. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Very brief book by professor of education, political science, and philosophy that focuses mainly on events between 2015 and 2017, including the Halloween costume fracas at Yale, protests at discrimination at the University of Missouri, the University of Chicago’s rejection of “trigger warnings,” and the harassment of speakers at Middlebury College and Berkeley. Includes extended discussion of what the author terms “inclusive freedom” and the possibilities and perils of demands for “civility” in an age of identity politics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Chemerinsky, Erwin, and Howard Gillman. 2017. Free speech on campus. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Prompted by events between 2015 and 2017, this brief, tightly argued book by two constitutional law scholars defends free speech and academic freedom and explains the links between them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fox, Claire. 2016. I find that offensive. London: Biteback.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          British journalist casts a wide net in a short polemic that looks primarily at the effects of laws such as the United Kingdom’s Public Order Act, Section 18, of which “criminalizes speech likely to stir racial hatred whether or not the speaker intended the speech to be interpreted as such,” and “self-esteem” programs such as “Student Voice,” which, she argues, contribute to the sharp rise in anxiety disorders in young people. Of interest here mainly because of the parallels she finds between Britain and the United States.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Furedi, Frank. 2017. What’s happened to the university? A sociological exploration of its infantilisation. London and New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            British scholar looks at recent campus unrest—disinvitation and shouting down speakers, calls for “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings,” denunciation of vaguely defined “micro-aggressions”—in the United Kingdom and the United States, and even some cases from Australia and New Zealand, and concludes that, in these societies, students arrive at college having been socialized by “powerful cultural forces” that encourage them to “interpret existential problems as psychological ones” (p. 7). The final chapter, “Why Academic Freedom Must Not Be Rationed: An Argument against the Freedom-Security Trade-Off,” deals most directly with academic freedom itself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Haslam, Nick. 2016. Concept creep: Psychology’s expanding concepts of harm and pathology. Psychological Inquiry 27.1 (February): 1–17.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.80/104784X.2016.1082418Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              A careful recounting how terms that originally had very precise meanings (many of them medical, such as “trauma”) have been stretched “vertically” and “horizontally” over the years. This both reflects and contributes to “ever-increasing sensitivity to harm” and “runs the risk of pathologizing everyday experience and encouraging a sense of virtuous but impotent victimhood” (quoted from abstract).

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lukianoff, Greg, and Jonathan Haidt. 2018. The coddling of the American mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. New York: Penguin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                The president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and a noted social psychologist examine American practices and ideas in parenting and education to identify relatively recent changes that have produced a “culture of safetyism” (p. 29) that actively inhibits the development of autonomous adults.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Whittington, Keith E. 2018. Speak freely: Why universities must defend free speech. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  A Princeton constitutional law expert and professor of politics delineates the range of meaning currently assigned these days to terms such as “trigger warning,” “safe spaces,” and “hate speech”; avoids false dichotomies and polemics; and demonstrates calmly and convincingly that the norms of free expression are essential for fully protecting free speech and promoting academic freedom. His book was required reading for Princeton’s incoming first-year students in the summer of 2018.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Zelinsky, Nathaniel A. G., José A. Cabranes, Kate Smith, and George F. Will. 2016. Campus speech in crisis: What the Yale experience can teach America. New York and London: Encounter Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Very brief book, useful mainly because it contains Yale’s famous Woodward Report (1975). Zelinsky provides a brief introduction chronicling the events of the early 1970s that led to the report; José Cabranes and Kate Smith supply commentary on the report. The book concludes with the text of the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” (2014) at the University of Chicago.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Zimmerman, Jonathan. 2016. Campus politics: What everyone needs to know. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Noted historian of education says that, in economic terms at least, college students in the 2010s are probably “the least coddled cohort to ever walk onto campus” and notes that most students do not support “efforts to shield their eyes and ears from disagreeable words or ideas” (p. 104). But many students, as “consumers” of education, believe themselves entitled to feel “safe” and “comfortable”—a belief that administrators, many claiming psychological expertise, are all too willing to encourage. A persuasive explanation of how the environment created by the contemporary “administrative university” influences how conflicts over free expression play out.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Religion and Academic Freedom

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Although the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has attempted to define ways to avoid collisions between religion and academic freedom, notably in its 1940 Statement of Principles, the long-standing conflict between faith and reason still surfaces periodically, most often in small colleges with strong ties to Protestant religious denominations and in Catholic institutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ambiguities and Conflict in the 20th Century

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Religion’s influence on the university generally waned over the course of the 20th century, as institutions of higher learning became increasingly secular. But it never disappeared entirely. Marsden 1993 outlines a case at Lafayette College before World War I, when academic freedom was just beginning to be defined. Buckley 1986 (first published 1950) is a classic statement of religion-based objection to the secularization of the university. Witham 1991 traces a long, drawn-out dispute between a liberal Catholic faculty member and his Catholic institution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Buckley, William F. 1986. God and man at Yale: The superstitions of “academic freedom.” Washington, DC: Regnery.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Originally published in 1950. Young Catholic conservative takes issue with virtually every trend shaping the modern university—especially secularism. The (often overlooked) subtitle is also the title of Chapter 4.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Marsden, George M. 1993. The ambiguities of academic freedom. Church History 62.2 (June): 221–236.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/3168145Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Focuses on Lafayette College’s 1913 dismissal of Prof. John Mecklin on religious grounds. Marsden argues that religious belief can be consistent with traditional conceptions of academic freedom.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Witham, Larry. 1991. Curran vs. Catholic University: A study of authority and freedom in conflict. Riverdale, MD: Edington-Rand.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Charles Curran, a tenured professor of theology at Catholic University, had views on birth control, divorce, and other issues that brought him into conflict with church authorities for many years. He was fired in 1986 and filed suit; the court sided with the university in 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            21st-Century Considerations

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The AAUP’s “Statement of Principles” (1940) insisted that institutional religious commitment and academic freedom could coexist, especially if the college or university made its expectations clear and specific from the beginning. Some observers are dubious, while others are more optimistic. Marsden 1998 and Diekema 2000 see Protestant Christianity as essentially compatible with academic freedom. Maguire 2002 portrays Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae as direct interference in Catholic higher education and a violation of academic freedom. Ringenberg 2016 brings the debate up to the present, and like Marsden finds religious values and academic freedom to be compatible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Diekema, Anthony J. 2000. Academic freedom and Christian scholarship. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              The president of Calvin College uses examples from his institution to argue, like the scholar George Marsden, that academic freedom and religious belief are compatible. Beckie Supiano, in “A Christian University Puts Faith in Its Professors” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2 May 2008), discusses the tensions accompanying accommodation at Whitworth College.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Maguire, Daniel C. May–June 2002. Academic freedom and the Vatican’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Academe 88.3: 46–50.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/40252166Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pope John Paul II’s 1990 mandate Ex Corde Ecclesiae defined conditions that colleges and universities had to meet to be considered Catholic, including the requirement that all professors of theology would have to be approved by the church. Maguire, a cleric and academic, objected strenuously to such rules.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Marsden, George M. 1998. The outrageous idea of Christian scholarship. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195122909.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The chapter “Christian Scholarship and the Rules of the Academic Game” is particularly relevant to the overall argument on behalf of including religious viewpoints in academia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ringenberg, William C. 2016. The Christian college and the meaning of academic freedom: Truth-seeking in community. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1057/9781137398338Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Historian’s recent study of Protestant Christian colleges’ efforts to reconcile faith and academic freedom, past and present, arguing for their compatibility, with some international comparisons and case studies dealing with race, ethnicity, and gender.

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