Response to UUP Voice: "Bull" of Rights · 29 April 2005

As the National Campus Director of Students for Academic Freedom, allow me to I to respond to the numerous falsehoods and outrageous misrepresentations in William Scheuerman's recent article for the UUP Voice ("Bull" of Rights, 04/27/05).

Scheuerman claims that the Academic Bill of Rights is "based on the assumption-and I emphasize the word assumption because proof is lacking-that academics are nothing but ideologues who ruthlessly impose their views on naïve students" and that it is "nothing more than a quota system for political extremists so they can deliver their right-wing sermons in the classroom."

There is no such assumption and there is no such agenda. The Academic Bill of Rights is viewpoint neutral and protects both leftwing and rightwing students and faculty members, and indeed all members of the academic community. It is outrageous that Scheuerman would make such a claim without citing a single paragraph or sentence from the actual text of the Bill of Rights to back up his claims.

Scheuerman's charges are even more preposterous considering that the Academic Bill of Rights is based on the principles of academic freedom of the American Association of University Professors, which have been in place for nearly a century. The only difference is that the Bill of Rights explicitly guarantees them as student rights and not such professorial prerogatives.

Contrary Scheuerman's fanciful inventions, the Academic Bill of Rights explicitly forbids the use of political or religious preferences in hiring and tenure decisions, thereby eliminating any possibility of a quota system or preferences for conservative applicants. The Bill holds all faculty, irrespective of their political views, to the same standards, stating that "While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, they should consider and make their students aware of other viewpoints. Academic disciplines should welcome a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions….Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination." I would urge UUP members to read the text of the Bill, which is available at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org, before making up their minds.

Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom