Response to The Daily Cavalier · 23 October 2005

Filed under: Replies to Critics

In his recent column (An Unacademic Bill, 10/18) Matt Waring offers up a host of straw man arguments for opposing our organization's Academic Bill of Rights.

He claims that abuses of academic freedom are rare and that existing university policies are sufficient, ignoring the hundreds of student testimonies on our website and our analysis of university policies revealing that few university administrations are in compliance. The American Council on Education statement on academic freedom which was co-signed by 27 higher education organizations states that "Neither students nor faculty should be disadvantaged or evaluated on the basis of their political opinions." Where is the grievance machinery to prevent this kind of discrimination?

Waring also falsely claims that the Academic Bill of Rights would require professors to present "every position out there" in the interest of "achieving some artificial degree of dissension." Instead the bill states that "exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty," a far cry from the previous claim.

The Academic Bill of Rights asks universities to promote intellectual diversity, civility and fairness on America's college campuses. Sadly, its purpose is not yet, to use Mr. Waring's term, "redundant."

Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom