Academic Freedom News · 07 April 2004

April 7, 2004

Victories

This issue of the News is devoted to some of the successes we have achieved in recent weeks. We are moving on two fronts. In the legislatures, the Academic Bill of Rights is gaining momentum. On the campuses, we are pressing to have the principle of "intellectual diversity" included in existing diversity programs. We have been successful with this proposal at Brown University and at Brooklyn College already. But the really good news is that we have had receptive hearings at every university we have approached.

On the Campuses...

At the University of California - San Diego, Dr. Sandy Lakoff , the founder of the Political Science Department and a professor emeritus, is supporting the effort to pass the Academic Bill of Rights by various legislatures.

"You know, the funny thing about this is that the statement refers to arguments that were made long ago to protect people on the left from discrimination when the boards of trustees were overly influenced by business people or by super-patriots," Lakoff said, "and now people on the left are complaining because of the same language that's being used to protect conservatives." Students for Academic Freedom thanks Dr. Lakoff for joining the growing ranks of professors who support the Academic Bill of Rights.

While in Massachusetts last week, David Horowitz spoke at three separate universities:

On March 30, David gave a speech at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. To say that he was an unwelcome guest by the administration would be an understatement. Upon hearing about David's invitation to campus, one administration official confronted the College Republicans, the group who issued the invitation, by screaming at them. Three professors urged their students not to attend. Others in the administration attempted to move the speech from a public location to a tiny classroom that would only fit 20 people on the grounds that a student walking by might inadvertently overhear David's lecture and be "offended." Apparently at Brandeis, free speech rights are only valid for those who agree with the administration. Only after the College Republicans took Brandeis officials to task was the speech moved to an appropriate venue.

The next day at Bentley College, only 5 miles but a world away from Brandeis, David was welcomed on campus with an interview by the campus newspaper. He was also invited to speak for an hour on the campus radio station and held a meeting with Dr. Earl Avery head of diversity at Bentley. During the meeting Dr. Avery said that he would be open to including Academic and Intellectual Diversity in the diversity program at Bentley. We congratulate Bentley College and Dr. Avery on being open to hearing the concerns of students who that feel they are being treated as second class citizens of the university community because of their political beliefs.

The final university on the Massachusetts tour was Tufts. During the past year, Tufts has hosted many guest speakers on campus. However, David is one of the only conservative lecturers to be heard all year. At a campus with less than 2% of the faculty registered as Republicans , it is clear that little importance is being paid to the ideal of intellectual diversity.

Students for Academic Freedom won a victory this week when San Francisco State University agreed not expel student Tatiana Meneker. Students for Academic Freedom took up Menaker's case , organizing a committee for her defense, and the hard work paid off. A Russian immigrant who wrote frequently for www.frontpagemag.com, Meneker was expelled from San Francisco State University for five years on February 23rd after pro-Israel comments she made to a professor were considered "death threats" by an administrator. She was not granted a hearing in her own defense, but instead was immediately escorted off campus by three uniformed campus police officers. After receiving thousands of emails and the University buckled under pressure and reinstated Ms. Meneker without any further interruption.
In the Legislatures…

After the Academic Bill of Rights Resolution sailed through the Georgia Senate on Tuesday, March 23 with a sweeping 41-5 bi-partisan vote it seems as if the national media is beginning to take notice of our movement. Within the next couple of weeks there will be articles in the Washington Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe and the New York Times. Segments on the Academic Bill of Rights will also be done on the Neal Bortz Show and NPR.

The Academic Bill of Rights is picking up steam in California. Several state senators are considering pushing not only resolution language but also statutory language. We are encouraged by this show of support and anticipate the introduction of a bill in the near future. The lack of intellectual diversity on California's campuses is outrageous. Passing legislation is the only way to show the administrations at California's universities that we will no longer stand for the indoctrination of our students with taxpayer dollars.

In the state of Washington, Representatives Marc Boldt and Lois MaMahan introduced House Bill 3185 "Creating an Academic Bill of Rights". HB 3185 was referred to the House Education Committee, however there was not time in this legislative session to hear the bill. We are expecting the Academic Bill of Rights to be reintroduced during the next legislative session where it stands a good chance of moving out of committee to a vote of the full Washington State House.

While he was in Massachusetts, David Horowitz meet with legislators and high ranking officials from the Department of Education. During these meetings, David described the problems of political indoctrination and inadequate diversity of thought on Massachusetts campuses. The legislators acknowledged the severity of the problem, and concurred that the Academic Bill of Rights is the best solution. Yours in the struggle,

Bradley Shipp
Contact email: bshipp@cspc.org

Other Academic Freedom Articles:

Making College "Comfortable" -- for the Left

Conservatives, Second Class Citizens at Brandeis, Fight Back

Academia . . . and the Truth

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