Professor unions conduct shamelessly deceptive campaign on Pennsylvania Academic Freedom Hearings · 18 November 2006

By David Horowitz

The Alice in Wonderland campaign against the academic freedom movement goes on. A report is almost released in Pennsylvania -- it will actually be released on Tuesday at which time we will post it in full. However, the union-financed Democratic minority on the Pennsylvania Academic Freedom Committee has already released its fanciful version of what the report allegedly says  and a politically sympathetic press has duly reported their fanciful claims. These claims are that the report says there is no problem of students being abused by their professors on Pennsylvania's public campuses and the academic freedom protections that Pennsylvania state universities have in place are perfectly adequate to protect students. Furthermore, that the change in academic policy at Temple which was a direct response to the Committee hearings was really no change at all but only a simplification of existing regulations -- a flatout falsehood that the press could have checked by compaing the new regulation with the old but didn't.

Here's a typical example of the press's fanciful reporting of one the teacher union inventions as some kind of fact: "Free Exchange on Campus published an analysis Wednesday of all of the testimony the committee heard. The group noted that 24 of 28 students, 24 of 29 professors, and all 8 administrators who testified said that adequate protections for students were in place." The minimalist truth in this claim is that 24 students recruited by teacher unions did testify thhat adequate protections for students were in place, and 24 professors recruited by the teacher unions testified to the same effect. The elephant fact in the room is that they were all talking through their hats because no such protections exist and that's what the Committee reported. The committee analyzed the actual protections in place at all 17 public universities and not one university in Pennsylvania had any protections in place regarding academic freedom for students, including Temple. The new Temple policy is just that a new policy -- the first of its kind in the state of Pennsylvania and possibly the entire nation that is specfic to students. That is why the first committee recommendation is that all Pennsylvania public universities review their academic freedom policies and make them "student specific."

As to the claim that only a few student claims were produced about  abuses this is obviously explained by the fact that there are no protections for students, therefore no students have academic freedom rights, nor is there any grievance machinery for complaining them. What's surprising then that so few abuses are reported? The report actually goes into detail about why students fail to complain and identify these as the main reasons. The comments of Democrats like Lawrence Curry that the report says the opposite of what it actually says are brazen attempts to deceive the public based on the confidence that the media will protect the leftist opponents of academic freedom and hide the fact that they are lying. This turns out to be a pretty safe bet.

When the report is published on Tuesday, reasonable people will see that the Pennsylvania hearings have confirmed the claims of the academic freedom movement. Better they have begun a process at Temple -- soon to be followed elsewhere -- that will result in the transformation of the public higher education system in Pennsylvania so that for the first time students will actually have "rights" in respect to intellectual diversity and academic freedom. No matter how much smoke is blown by teacher unions and Democrats on this issue, the truth will eventually prevail.