Students for Academic Freedom Timeline · 21 October 2006
A Campus Movement is Born
When David Horowitz founded Students for Academic Freedom in the Spring of 2003, it was because of the need he saw for an organization to stand up for the rights of students to get a professional education and be free from political harassment in university classrooms. In the ensuing three years, we have launched an historic campaign for academic freedom involving over 150 campuses and thousands of students across the nation. With the adoption of the first student bill of rights in the nation by the trustees of Temple University, it is time to provide a summary chronicle of major events and achievements since our founding.
On September 3, David Horowitz announces Campaign for Fairness and Inclusion in Higher Education with the slogan "You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story." Horowitz calls for inquiries into political bias in the hiring of faculty and the appointment of commencement speakers.
Horowitz meets with top administrators of the State University System of New York and proposes that universities adopt an Academic Bill of Rights to promote "intellectual diversity" in American universities.
SUNY fails to act on the Academic Bill of Rights
David Horowitz speaks on academic freedom at the University of Missouri-Columbia where biology professor Miriam Golomb offers her students extra credit to attend and protest his speech.
News of possible legislation breaks in Colorado on September 6 with a smear piece by Rocky Mountain News reporter Peggy Lowe claiming the Academic Bill of Rights is a plot to fire liberal professors and hire conservatives, which is soon followed by others. Horowitz is forced to set the record straight.
The Center for the Study of Popular Culture releases a study of 32 elite colleges and universities, including the entire Ivy League, showing that faculty registered as Democrats outnumber Republican faculty 10-1, on average. A second related study reveals that among the commencement speakers chosen by these same top universities over a ten year period, Democrats again outnumber Republicans by more than 10-1.
SAF reports on the case of Matt Bettis, a student at Duke University whose history professor declared in class "I don't have a bias against anyone...except Republicans!"
SAF chapters established on 70 campuses nationwide.
Horowitz tours Colorado universities.
On October 23, Congressmen Jack Kingston, R-GA along with Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-NC hold a press conference announcing their support for the Academic Bill of Rights.
Students for Academic Freedom exposes a wave of censorship resulting from administrators shutting down "Affirmative Action Bake Sales" on campuses.
SAF comes to the aid of Jason Mattera, the editor of a conservative newspaper at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, when campus administrators freeze funding for the paper citing concerns with the content. Due to the negative publicity, the funding is unfrozen.
SAF chapters established on over 85 campuses nationwide.
Horowitz reports on his recent speech at Brown University and meetings with President Ruth Simmons and Director of Institutional Diversity Brenda Allen. As a result of Horowitz's visit, Allen agrees to embrace "intellectual diversity" as part of her institutional mandate.
Students for Academic Freedom defends the Metropolitan State College of Denver College Republicans after Professor Oneida Meranto, the faculty advisor for the Political Science Association, told the College Republican that they "need to withdraw from the Political Science Association," accusing them of conspiring with a conservative think tank to have her fired.
On December 18, Colorado State Senate President John Andrews organizes an informal bipartisan committee at the state Capitol to listen to the concerns of college students who believe they have faced discrimination for their political beliefs.
Ruth Malhotra, a student at Georgia Tech, reports that her public policy professor promised to fail her when she missed one day of class to attend a conservative conference in Washington, DC. When the professor follows through on this threat, SAF helps Ruth to pursue her case with the university. Ultimately, the university finds that the professor did not violate any official policies but she is removed from teaching the public policy course and Georgia Tech holds a forum on intellectual diversity issues.
At Indiana University-Bloomington, Students for Academic Freedom launches an investigation into a Workplace Safety course which had been turned into a propaganda class against the United States and Israel and their efforts in the War On Terror. SAF students on campus spearheaded a movement joined by the Indiana Association of Scholars and faculty members on campus, to expose the misleading course description and ask the administration to make changes. The course has been completely revamped and the instructor reassigned.
Legislation inspired by the Academic Bill of Rights is formally introduced in Colorado.
SAF writes to UC-Berkeley Chancellor John Cummins protesting the treatment of Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes who attempts to deliver a speech on campus but is shouted-down and jeered by a raucous mob determined to prevent his pro-Israel views from being heard.
The February 13 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, the nation's foremost source for news about academia, features 3 major articles about Students for Academic Freedom.
On February 25, the Colorado House Education Committee holds hearings on the Academic Bill of Rights legislation introduced by Rep. Shawn Mitchell. The bill advances to the full House after a 6-5 party-line vote in the House Education Committee.
The Colorado Academic Bill of Rights legislation is approved by the House Education Committee. During hearings on the bill, UC-Boulder student Ian Van Buskirk is confronted by Tim Gould, a Metro State philosophy professor, who in a face-to-face confrontation with the student retorted, "I got my Ph.D. at Harvard. I'll see your (expletive) in court. Then we'll see a chilling effect."
The Georgia State Senate Education Committee unanimously votes for the Academic Bill of Rights on March 9 after David Horowitz and local students testify at hearings. On March 23, the full Georgia State Senate votes 41-5 in favor of the Academic Bill of Rights.
Under pressure from Colorado legislators supportive of Horowitz's Academic Bill of Rights, Colorado universities agree to a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging to protect students of all political viewpoints.
Brooklyn College's Center for Diversity agrees to include "intellectual diversity" in its mission statement.
SAF pursues the case of Tatiana Meneker, a Russian immigrant who was expelled from San Francisco State University for five years on February 23rd after pro-Israel comments she made to a professor were considered "death threats" by a campus administrator. After SAF publicized her case and wrote to the administration, the university reversed their decision.
The California state senate hears testimony from students on the need for an Academic Bill of Rights.
The New York Times reports on SAF's Academic Freedom Campaign.
David Horowitz visits Brandeis but is told by administrators that the location of his speech will have to be moved from an open-air atrium because passing students might be "offended." At least three professors on the campus, including a Spanish language professor, warn students not to attend the event.
Brown's Undergraduate Council of Students votes unanimously on April 21st to pass a Resolution on Academic Freedom based on the Academic Bill of Rights.
At its Spring Task Force Summit in Austin, Texas the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), adopted both a model resolution and model statutory language based on the Academic Bill of Rights and agreed to work with Students for Academic Freedom to press for the adoption of this legislation in all fifty states.
The Cornell Daily Sun, the main student newspaper at the University, signs on as a co-sponsor to an academic freedom resolution proposed in student government and prints an editorial lauding SAF's efforts to promote intellectual diversity and free discussion on campus. The resolution ultimately fails by one vote.
Jeanette Johnson-Licon, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at DePauw University, apologizes to Horowitz after sending an email to several campus cultural groups attacking the leadership of the College Republicans for inviting David Horowitz who she terms a "hate-monger" to speak on campus.
SAF conducts a letter-writing campaign to 88 college presidents in select states, asking them to consider adopting a statement citing the importance of intellectual diversity as part of their campus diversity statements. The letters and subsequent follow-up calls and emails elicit virtually no response.
On September 9, the presidents of four Colorado universities testify before a legislative committee to describe how they are promoting intellectual diversity and academic freedom on their campuses in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding they signed in March, 2004. Leaders invited to testify are CU President Elizabeth Hoffman; Colorado State University President Larry Penley; University of Northern Colorado President Kay Norton; and Metropolitan State College Interim President Ray Kieft. At this meeting, Norton mentions the case of a UNC student who filed a grievance over a failed criminology exam. She claims the case is resolved, though ultimately the issue is far from over.
SAF announces the launch of Parents and Students for Academic Freedom (psaf.org), to battle political indoctrination in K-12 classrooms.
SAF investigates the case of Bradley Alexander, a sophomore at the University of Georgia who attended the first lecture of a course on World Wars I and II only to find himself subjected to a hostile and profanity-laced tirade on why the President and Vice-President are "chicken-s-t" from his professor, John Morrow. Morrow later defended his political comments and profanity in an article on the History News Network. Students for Academic Freedom contacted the university administration and helped to spark media coverage of the incident. The attention brought to this issue by Students for Academic Freedom and Frontpage Magazine convinced the University of Georgia to take Bradley's complaint seriously and launch an official investigation. Following this inquiry by the Office of Legal Affairs and a high-level faculty committee, Dr. Morrow was advised by the Dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences that gratuitous profanity is not appropriate in the classroom, and that he should take care to recognize the power differential inherent in the academic environment between faculty and students.
SAF also takes up the case of Brett Mock, a student in Professor George Wolfe's peace studies class at Ball State University, and discovers that Professor Wolfe used his course to indoctrinate students in radical anti-war positions and as a professor of music holds no legitimate qualifications to serve as the director of BSU's Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution center. SAF launches a full-scale campaign in Indiana to raise public awareness of the "Peace Studies" indoctrination program, culminating in the release of the 57-page booklet "Indoctrination or Education? The ‘Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution' Program at Ball State University" and numerous articles in the local media.
SAF works with students at Cornell University to protest the student government's decision to freeze the funding of the Cornell American, one of the few conservative student publications on campus. Led by Cornell SAF President Ross Blankenship, the editors of the American fight back, issuing a press release chastising the student government for condoning censorship.
California State University-Long Beach student Marissa Freimanis contacts SAF after her English Professor Jerome Snider forbids his students from considering conservative perspectives. Outlining the rules for writing an "argument paper" in his class syllabus, Snider declared that his students must avoid "topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from chauvinistic, religious or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science" and lumped together as examples of these supposedly illegitimate views "female circumcision, prayer in public schools, same-sex marriage, the so-called faith-based initiative, abortion, hate crime laws, the existence of the Holocaust and so-called creationism." Students for Academic Freedom helped to publicize Marissa's case, bringing national media attention and scrutiny to Snider's classroom indoctrination, and leading him to apologize in class and alter his website.
Columbia University's mainstream student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, publishes a staff editorial heralding the need for greater intellectual diversity on campus.
Students for Academic Freedom defends the College Republicans of San Francisco State University who were attacked by an angry mob of members of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) while distributing Bush/Cheney materials on campus on the Monday before election day.
Students for Academic Freedom releases a new booklet "Indoctrination or Education" examining the radical, anti-military Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Center at Ball State University which is led by a music professor.
Students for Academic Freedom comes to the defense of Ahmad al-Qloushi, a Kuwaiti Muslim immigrant and student at Foothill College in California. When Ahmad wrote an essay for his American Government and Politics class taught by Prof. Josephn Woolcock defending America's Founding Fathers and upholding the Constitution as a progressive document which has contributed to freedom beyond America's borders, Professor Woolcock refused to grade the essay, claiming that Ahmad needed "regular psychotherapy" and threatened him by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure he received regular psychological treatment. Students for Academic Freedom helped to make Ahmad's case a national media story, resulting in hundreds of emails sent to Foothill's board of trustees.
SAF works with Ball State Student Brett Mock to expose the ideological agendas in Ball State's "Freshman Connections Program" which requires all new students at Ball State to read an assigned book or "common reader," which for the last two years has meant a text from the radical left. During the past two years, the program has required students to read consecutive texts from the radical left; yet in all eight years of the program's existence, students have never been assigned to read a conservative work.
Ruth Simmons, the president of Brown University, which was shown in a 2003 CSPC study to be the most politically one-sided of the Ivies, devotes the majority of her Spring Semester Opening Address to issues of intellectual diversity and academic freedom.
An article by Mano Singham in the Cleveland Plain Dealer kicks off a media furor questioning whether Horowitz made up the story of a University of Northern Colorado student who claimed that her final exam in a criminology course asked her to "explain why George Bush is a war criminal.” She claimed that when she instead wrote an essay explaining why former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a war criminal, she received an “F” on the exam. The controversy ultimately reveals deception on the part of the professor who gave the exam and proves that even the reconstructed exam given to the media by UNC was clearly an exercise in indoctrination.
Questions are raised about a case of abuse reported by a student at the University of Northern Colorado who was asked to write an essay on her criminology exam explaining "why President Bush is a war criminal." SAF mounts a defense against a hostile media which refuses to accurately report the facts of the case.
On April 5, Horowitz testifies before the Florida House Education Committee on the need for an Academic Bill of Rights.
Campus censors smash a pie in Horowitz's face while he delivers a speech at Butler University on April 6.
SAF defends Nation editor David Corn when an Arkansas college cancels his scheduled speech due to anti-Bush ads on his personal website.
Horowitz is vindicated in Colorado exam caper.
The nation's two largest teachers' unions-The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-issue an inaccurate and misleading attack on our SAF and the Academic Bill of Rights.
SAF helps to call attention to the appointment of Timothy Shortell as chair of the sociology department at Brooklyn College. Shortell had distinguished himself by stating in an essay that religious individuals are "moral retards" and "an ugly violent lot" provoking questions of whether he could fairly evaluate religious candidates for tenure in his departments (one of the chief responsibilities of the department chair). Following a public outcry, Shortell resigns from the position.
Pennsylvania House of Representatives votes 111-87 on July 5 to pass a resolution barring ideological discrimination in state-run schools. The resolution was based upon David Horowitz's Academic Bill of Rights.
SAF defends Prof. William Bradford, a native-American law professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who, despite impeccable credentials, was denied early tenure and reinstated as a teacher by a highly negative vote after he refused to sign a petition supporting UC-Boulder Prof. Ward Churchill. University officials have continued to violate official policy and lie to protect their actions.
The Inter-University Council of Ohio finally concedes, agreeing to a compromise with Senate sponsors of the Ohio Academic Bill of Rights (Senate Bill 24) whereby it promises to implement key principles of academic freedom in all public and private colleges and universities in the state. The principles are based upon Horowitz's Academic Bill of Rights.
The AAUP contradicts itself once again by opposing academic freedom language in the Senate Higher Education Act which is based on the American Council on Education Statement that the AAUP signed in June.
Horowitz's CSPC releases a study on faculty party affiliation at elite law and journalism schools, showing that, among law schools, Democrat faculty outnumbers Republican faculty by more than 10 to 1, on average, while, among journalism schools, the ratio is about 7 to 1.
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education President David French testifies before the Pennsylvania Legislature about the lack of academic freedom in the state's public colleges and universities and the need for reform.
Students for Academic Freedom proposes a new policy to create greater openness and fairness in the hiring and tenure processes at universities and prevent the abuse of confidentiality to conceal violations of due process.
SAF Chairman David Horowitz testifies on January 10 before an historic hearing held at Temple University in Philadelphia by the select committee of the Pennsylvania Legislature charged with reviewing the state of academic freedom on Pennsylvania's public college and university campuses. Additional testimony was provided by Temple Vice-Provost Stephen Zelnick, who has taught at Temple for 37 years, Anne Neal, the president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Temple student Logan Fisher, among others.
Students for Academic Freedom publicly opposes the Bruin Alumni Association, an organization which offers monetary payments to students if they tape classes and report information about their left-wing professors, violating both the spirit and non-partisanship of the academic freedom movement.
The Bowdoin College Republicans spearhead a successful effort to convince the Bowdoin Student Government to officially endorse a version of the Academic Bill of Rights on Wednesday, February 1st. The legislation, endorsed by a vote of 12-10 states that the College should be a place of learning and pursuit of excellence, rather than a forum for ideological indoctrination.
On February 08, the South Dakota state legislature votes 42-26 in favor of HB 1222, a bill which would requires that state's institutions of higher education to report annually on the specific steps taken to protect the free exchange of ideas on their campuses.
A coalition of radical professors, students, and organizations launch a smear campaign to discredit David Horowitz's newly-released book, The Professors, which documents the politicization of the academy and neglect of scholarly standards in favor of political ones.
Members of the New York State Assembly tossed their hats into the ring of the academic freedom movement on February 28 when they introduced a bill that would establish an academic bill of rights for students in state-funded colleges and universities.
On March 7, David Horowitz speaks to a crowd of over 500 students at Duke University. Duke's Director of Undergraduate Studies Diane Nelson, who is also a tenured associate professor of Cultural Anthropology, attempted to disrupt Horowitz's speech by attempting to convince 20 students - male and female - into stripping during the middle of Horowitz's speech.
David Horowitz testifies on March 15 before the appropriations committee of the Kansas State Legislature on the need to enact an Academic Bill of Rights to protect the academic freedom of students in the state's public colleges and universities. The Kansas version of the Academic Bill of Rights was introduced as House Concurrent Resolution No. 5035 by Kansas Representative Mary Pilcher Cook. In his testimony, Horowitz highlights several state-funded academic programs in Kansas which espouse left-wing beliefs as basic assumptions.
House Majority Leader John Boehner praises the academic freedom movement and states his personal commitment to including language from the Academic Bill of Rights in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
The Higher Education Re-Authorization Act, authored by Congressmen John Boehner and Buck McKeon, which contains academic freedom language from the Academic Bill of Rights, successfully passes the U.S. House.
On April 6-7, 2006, Students for Academic Freedom holds its First National Academic Freedom Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference features detailed discussion on the indoctrination that is occurring in America's K-12 schools and the politicization of American universities. A panel which serves as a press conference features the announcement by Pennsylvania Representative Sam Rohrer that he is going to initiate a process of legislative hearings that could lead to an Academic Bill of Rights for K-12 schools in his state. Representative Rohrer is the chairman of the subcommittee on K-12 education of the Pennsylvania House. George Soros' the Center for Campus Progress further discredits itself with a series of slanted and misleading reports on the conference.
The K-12 press conference includes the presentation of the "Sean Allen Award" by David Horowitz to Colorado high school student Sean Allen whose recording of an illiterate political rant by his geography teacher, Jay Bennish, created a national furor over classroom indoctrination. The "Sean Allen Award" and will be presented annually to a student who displays great courage as Sean did in combating classroom indoctrination and standing up for academic freedom.
David Horowitz trounces University of Colorado-Boulder Professor Ward Churchill in an April 6 debate on the topic "Can Politics Be Taken Out Of The Classroom, and Should It Be?" Radio talk show host Alan Nathan of "Battle Line" moderates the debate.
SAF reports on the case of U Mass-Dartmouth student Ben Tamsey whose economics professor threatened to report him for harassment if he did not drop out of his Introduction to Microeconomics course after he praised Milton Friedman and free-market economics in class.
When David Horowitz speaks at the University of Chicago on May 9, the university creates a "safe zone" outside of the room where he is speaking in case listeners need to "cool off." Chicago's SAF President criticizes the arrangement noting that "When Cornell West, or the Chinese ambassador, or other controversial speakers have spoken here, the University offered no safe zone."
A panel of five professors concludes on May 16 that the former chairman of Colorado University's Ethnic Studies Department and current full professor in that department, Ward Churchill, "committed several forms of academic misconduct" including "Falsification," "Fabrication," "Plagiarism," and "Serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research," further proving the thesis of David Horowitz's The Professors that universities regularly allow professors' political views to influence hiring and promotion.
Students for Academic Freedom and Frontpage Magazine publish a rebuttal to an attack made on David Horowitz's book The Professors by a radical coalition of academics calling themselves by the misnomer "Free Exchange on Campus."
SAF defends the right of University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor and 9/11 denier Kevin Barrett to hold his extremist views, but criticizes the professor for violating the academic freedom of his students by discussing them in the classroom.
On July 19, Temple University in Philadelphia becomes the first university in America to adopt a student bill of rights that specifically outlines students' academic freedom and establishes a grievance procedure for students whose rights are violated.
In response to a lawsuit brought two students, one the President of the Georgia Tech chapter of SAF, Georgia Institute of Technology agrees the terms of a court order forcing them to revise a speech code which administrators had repeatedly invoked to censor conservative activism on campus.
Students for Academic Freedom defends the free speech rights of tenured University of New Hampshire professor William Woodward who believes that the 9/11 attacks were the result of a government conspiracy, but criticizes the AAUP for stating that Woodward may mention his views in the classroom.
SAF publishes the first in a series of reports authored by David Horowitz and titled Indoctrination U. which reveal how the curricula of America's universities has been corrupted and transformed by tenured radicals into programs of ideological indoctrination.
Students for Academic Freedom calls upon Columbia President Lee Bollinger to take immediate action in the wake of a riot orchestrated by radical student groups to disrupt the speech of Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist organized by the College Republicans.
Columbia University officials again demonstrate their incompetence in protecting free expression when they rescind the invitations of over 100 people invited to another College Republicans event due to security concerns.
A Select Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives concludes that students' academic freedom rights are not protected in the 17 public colleges and universities in the state and recommends that each school adopt "student-specific" policies and grievance procedures. The teachers' unions fraudulently cite the report's conclusions as a defeat for the academic freedom movement.
In a planned attack at Ball State University on November 8, a student protestor hurls a cream pie at Students for Academic Freedom Chairman David Horowitz in an effort to disrupt his forthcoming speech on the campus. The pie misses Horowitz, instead striking Ball State Public Safety Director Gene Burton, who stepped forward to intercept the attack.
The Marquette Administration resorts to wild allegations in an effort to keep Students for Academic Freedom off campus.
SAF defends a conservative group at Michigan State when it is labeled a "Hate Group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
SAF helps to expose a case of administrative harassment at Pace University in New York where the campus administration pressured Michael Abdurakhmanov, the head of Pace Hillel, not to show the film Obsession which is about Radical Islam during Jewish Awareness Week.
In a step that reflects the growing influence of the academic freedom campaign, the administration of the City University of New York proposes new policies for vetting student complaints of mistreatment in the classroom
In a groundbreaking report released January 22, Students for Academic Freedom identifies several academic departments at Pennsylvania State University which openly and regularly violate the academic freedom provisions of the university.
The editorial board of the Georgica Tech student paper – The Georgia Tech Technique -- rejects an ad from the Terrorism Awareness Project, warning students about the threat that radical Islam poses to America because they find it "offensive."
On March 3-4, Students for Academic Freedom holds its hugely successful second annual Academic Freedom Conference in Washington, DC. The conference draws approximately 500 students from across the nation.
SAF defends Georgia Tech student Ruth Malhotra after the University fails to take seriously death and rape threats made against the conservative activist.
SAF successfully defends a student at Kansas Wesleyan University was charged with plagiarism for introducing a version of the Academic Bill of Rights in his student government.