Response to St. Petersburg Times · 28 May 2005

Anita Kumar's article on our Academic Bill of Rights ("Taking the Cause of the Academic rights of the Right") misrepresents the bill in several crucial respects, beginning with her title. This is a bill of rights for all students regardless of their political views as any semi-literate person reading it would know. Secondly it is completely false to say (as Kumar does) that some lawmakers want to "mandate that [professors] teach creationism alongside evolution and require them to explain in history class that some doubt the Holocaust existed." Who exactly is she talking about? Our Academic Bill of Rights states nothing of the kind and its author, David Horowitz explicitly denied this when he was interviewed by her.

Our Academic Bill of Rights states that "Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty." This is the nearly the same standard invoked by the American Historical Association in its recent statement which declares, "Students should be made aware of multiple causes and varying interpretations. Within the bounds of the historical topic being studied, the free expression of legitimate differences of opinion should always be a goal." Unscientific beliefs like creationism and crackpot theories Holocaust-denial are "significant scholarly viewpoints" and therefore would not fall under the guidelines in the Academic Bill of Rights.


Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom