Temple To Tout Grievance Process After Academic Freedom Lawsuit · 25 July 2006

Filed under: Pennsylvania

By Maryclaire Dale--The Associated Press--07/25/06

PHILADELPHIA -- Temple University, accused of discriminating against those with conservative viewpoints, has approved a new grievance procedure and will publicize it to students this fall.

Temple's board of trustees voted last week to enact a uniform policy at its various schools for students with complaints about academic freedom, spokesman Raymond Betzner said.

The state Legislature held a two-day public hearing on the subject at Temple last year, but school officials do not believe there is a widespread problem.

During the hearing, now-retired Temple President David Adamany said he had not received a single complaint on the subject in his five-year term, although students did not hesitate to e-mail him about campus food or the unavailability of certain classes.

"He felt pretty comfortable that it was not a major issue on campus," Mr. Betzner said yesterday.

Administrators at the large, urban school believe the faculty and student body defy labeling.

"I think it's really difficult to characterize Temple with a student body that is as diverse as ours, and a faculty that is as diverse as ours," Mr. Betzner said.

The conservative Alliance Defense Fund charged Temple with liberal bias in a lawsuit filed in February on behalf of graduate student Christian DeJohn. Mr. DeJohn, who served with the Pennsylvania National Guard, charged that his differences with a military history professor over the Iraq war led the professor to retaliate against him by delaying approval of his master's thesis plan.

U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell has not yet ruled on Temple's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Across the country, conservatives including writer-activist David Horowitz have charged that liberal professors infringe on the free speech rights of conservative students and have demanded an "academic bill of rights."