How the Press Misreported the Academic Battle in Pennsylvania · 16 November 2006

By David Horowitz

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Committee on Academic Freedom published its recommendations after nine months of hearings on the state of academic freedom in Pennsylvania. It failed to publish its 46-page report on which the recommendations were based because of the lack of a quorum. This provided an opportunity for opponents of academic freedom -- including the Democratic minority on the committee and its allies in the press -- to report the opposite of what the committee found and to keep the public from understanding the nature and gravity of its recommendations.

The Committee found that students in Pennsylvania have no academic freedom rights and are intimidated from reporting professorial abuses. Its first recommendation therefore was that Pennsylvania universities review their academic freedom policies and make them "student specific." The press reported the exact opposite. Martha Raeffele of the Associated Press led the pack. Her incredible report begins "A statewide policy governing college students' academic freedom is unnecessary because political bias is rare at Pennsylvania's public colleges and universities, a bipartisan legislative panel has found." Even a cursory glance at the recommendations shows that this statement -- and the article that follows -- is utterly false. It is in fact a report of the Democrats' talking points on these proceedings which itself are based on a willful disregard for the facts. We will be posting the Committee Report as soon as it is released and readers will see that it is a massive indictment of higher education in Pennsylvania, the lack of intellectual diversity, the lack of professionalism, and the failure of the system to protect its students.