Press Release: Pennsylvania Legislative Committee to Hear Testimony on Academic Freedom · 05 January 2006

January 05, 2006
Contact: Elizabeth Ruiz

Pennsylvania Legislative Committee to Hear Testimony on Academic Freedom

Legislators will hear charges of wide-spread academic abuses and student fears of faculty reprisal for expressing their opinions.

On Monday and Tuesday, January 9 and 10, the select committee of the Pennsylvania Legislature charged with reviewing the state of academic freedom on Pennsylvania's public college and university campuses will conduct hearings on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia.

The hearing will be held in Rooms B and C of the Temple University Student Center, which is located at the intersection of 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

The select committee was formed as a result of the passage of HR 177, an academic freedom resolution introduced by Representative Gibson Armstrong.

Testifying will be Temple Vice Provost Stephen Zelnick, who has taught at Temple for 37 years and David Horowitz, the sponsor of Students for Academic Freedom. Anne Neal, the president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and Temple student Logan Fisher will also be testifying.

Previewing his testimony, Horowitz commented that "Temple University has in place an academic freedom policy that prohibits professors from using their classrooms as political soap boxes. But it is not enforced by the present Temple administration and consequently the academic rights of students at Temple are widely abused. Temple has required courses like the Freshman Year Writing Program which are designed to indoctrinate students in leftwing political and social fads and are taught by instructors whose only professional expertise is in English. Most sections of this "writing course," for example, are explicitly devoted to instructing students in 'gender theory' using textbooks that are almost entirely one-sided. The instructors -- mainly graduate students -- are not trained in sociology or women's studies but in English literature. Having unqualified teachers attempt to impose an orthodoxy in the name of education is a form of consumer fraud practiced on Temple students and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."

Also testifying will be Logan Fisher, a senior at Temple University and vice-chairman of the Temple College Republicans. Logan notes in his remarks that "my testimony today will not only contain my personal experiences, but that of many students who are afraid to testify, for fear of repercussions to their academic careers. As a vice-chairman of the Temple College Republicans and Vice-President of the Temple Chapter of Students for Academic Freedom, I experienced first hand the apprehension students had to testify today, as they expressed to me concerns of retaliation by professors and fear of being singled out in their classes in the future."

Students for Academic Freedom is a national movement to promote intellectual diversity and to restore educational values to America's institutions of higher learning. The organization recommends that colleges and universities adopt an Academic Bill of Rights to ensure that these principles are respected. The Academic Bill of Rights is available on the organization's website at