Blogs > Liberty and Power > A Call to Arms for the AHA in Philadelphia: Speech Codes and the Academic Bill of Rights

Dec 27, 2005 6:00 pm


A Call to Arms for the AHA in Philadelphia: Speech Codes and the Academic Bill of Rights



Our call to arms (co-authored by Ralph Luker and K.C. Johnson) for the Philadelphia AHA convention has appeared as an article at HNN. We already have several responses. I will respond tomorrow when I return from my vacation:
At the meeting of the AHA Business Meeting on January 7 in Philadelphia, the members will have a rare opportunity to stand up for academic freedom.

They can vote on one of two resolutions. The weakest of the two condemns the so-called Academic and Student Bill of Rights but is completely silent on other threats to academic freedom, most notably speech codes. For this reason, it will be easy for critics to dismiss the resolution as selective and opportunistic.

A better alternative which does not suffer from this fatal flaw is the second resolution (which is proposed in the form of substitute). The substitute not only opposes the Academic and Student Bill of Rights but also the use of campus speech codes to limit academic freedom:

Whereas, Free and open discourse is essential to the success of research and learning on campus; and

Whereas, Faculty and students face threats to academic freedom from multiple sources which include government agencies and campus administrators; and

Whereas, The so-called Academic and Student Bill of Rights and campus speech codes represent the two leading threats to academic freedom today; and

Whereas, Administrators, politicians, and others have used speech codes and the Academic and Student Bill of Rights to improperly restrict faculty choices on curriculum, course content, and personnel decisions; and


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