Response to the Daily Bruin · 12 October 2005

10/12/05

In Sarah Martin's recent article (Potential legislation may restrict freedom of California professors, 10/12) she quotes Professor Mitchell Chang who is a critic of the Academic Bill of Rights sponsored by our organization. Professor Chang falsely claims that faculty members' ability to express themselves freely in the classroom could be threatened if the Academic Bill of Rights is passed in the state legislature. Chang added that "If passed, students would have the ability to sue their professors personally if a balanced perspective was not offered in class."

We have repeatedly shown these charges to be baseless and absurd. The Academic Bill of Rights asks universities to promote intellectual diversity, civility and fairness. The word "balance" does not appear in the bill. 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." This is the same principle reaffirmed in the recent statement of the American Council on Education, by 27 additional organizations including the American Association of University Professors, which says that "Intellectual pluralism and academic freedom are central principles of American higher education."

Professor Chang should read the Academic Bill of Rights before attacking it.
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Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom