Wednesday, July 27, 2005
to examine the academic atmosphere and the degree to which faculty have the opportunity to instruct and students have the opportunity to learn in an environment conducive to the pursuit of knowledge and truth at State-related and State-owned colleges and universities and community colleges in this Commonwealth.
Douglas notes that he and I don't particularly like this; this preamble with "pursuit of knowledge and truth" belongs in a comic strip rather than a legislative resolution. The opponents, alas, don't sound much better. Inside Higher Ed reports on a letter sent to the PA House by William Cutler, president of the faculty union at Temple University.
To be a forum for the exchange of ideas of all kinds, a college or university must be free from the threat of oversight by those with a particular cultural or political agenda. This is not to say that a public institution of higher education should be unaccountable for how it spends precious tax dollars. Far from it. But it is to say that the intellectual climate on college and university campuses will be far less open if students and professors feel that their work is being monitored by those who answer to a particular group or set of constituents.
Yet some students and professors already feel their work is being monitored, by other faculty who wish to make war on those who do not support the dominant paradigm of the radicalized modern American campus. I continue to argue that the proper forum for investigation of those grievances should be the campuses themselves who commit themselves to a vision of academic freedom such as that offered by Stanley Fish in Save the World on Your Own Time.
We are in the pursuit of truth business. All other agendas need to be put aside.