David Horowitz Responds to the American Federation of Teachers · 30 June 2005

AFT raises objections to the American Council on Education statement on intellectual diversity and academic freedom

June 30, 2005

As I have said many times in the course of this campaign, our legislative effort is designed to get university administrations to live up to their own commitments to academic freedom. Many of them have provisions in place that would ensure that education rather than political indoctrination is taking place in their classrooms but are not enforcing them. If the AFT and the NEA would put their weight behind our efforts to get universities to enforce and enhance their academic freedom guidelines, the legislative effort would be redundant and disappear. Instead, both these organizations have chosen to conduct a campaign of malicious distortion of the bills and their intent and equally regrettable name-calling to demonize myself and the legislators who are sponsoring the bills. This is not constructive and does not help the cause of academic freedom.

The AFT's stated objections to the statement by the American Council on Education that this would invite government intrusion into academic affairs doesn't pass the smell test. When has the AFT objected to government guidelines on sexual harassment or racial diversity on college campuses? Why then object to a resolution on intellectual diversity, which is fundamental principle of American society?

As for the AFT's complaint that the ACE statement enhances my role as a "player" in higher education, the American Council on Education statement merely recognizes the fact that in the present academic and political climates it is important to reiterate the university community's commitment to intellectual diversity and pluralism and to non-discrimination against anyone in the academy -- student or professor, left or right. If I am a player, it is only because I have called attention to these problems and to the need for academic organizations and institutions to recommit themselves to these principles and values. If the NEA and the AFT want to continue to oppose them and play an obstructionist role, that is unfortunate, but it is their decision.