Responding to an Attack by the AAUP · 15 December 2003

As the creators of an energetic and powerful new movement, SAF has faced numerous attacks as we combat the lack of academic freedom and the blacklisting of professors at campuses across the nation. In Colorado, reporters from many major newspapers misled the public by claiming that the Academic Bill of Rights supports quotas, even though the text of the document explicitly states otherwise. Critics have accused us of trying to limit free speech on campus, even as we work to increase the breadth of intellectual debate.

Yet another attack against our campaign was launched recently by the American Association of University Professors, the organization that first formulated the concept of academic freedom but has since become a more political and partisan organization. The AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure released a statement describing the Academic Bill of Rights as "a grave threat to … academic freedom," even though it is modeled on the AAUP's own policies, which our literature quotes in depth.

In a scathing and detailed rebuttal , the author of the Bill, David Horowitz, described the AAUP statement as "Orwellian" pointing out that the AAUP stood idly by while speech codes and "political correctness" swept America's college campuses. Horowitz charges that the AAUP statement systematically distorts the text and meaning of the Academic Bill of Rights and that the AAUP's "intemperate" and "partisan" attack on the bill itself demonstrates the need for academic reform.

"Instead of a reasoned, fair-minded response, the American Association of University Professors … issued an intemperate, misleading, and at times incoherent denunciation of the bill itself," wrote Horowitz.

You may read the full text of the AAUP statement here on our website, and you may read David Horowitz's detailed response here . While the AAUP attack drastically mischaracterizes our aims, it is important to take note of their criticisms as they are bound to come up time and again, and we must be able to show that these concerns are baseless.

We have lots of plans in the works for the coming term, including a new organizational booklet complete with sample posters, press releases, and other materials to help you publicize your SAF chapter on campus. We're also planning some updates to the website including an online bias complaint form so that students can submit reports of bias directly to us via the site.

As we go ahead with these plans, we are eager to hear your input into what changes you would like to see and what materials it would be helpful for us to provide. Please contact me with your ideas and suggestions at Sara@studentsforacademicfreedom.org or at 202-969-2467.

Best Regards,
Sara Russo
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom