I’d like to urge folks to go an read what I think will someday be looked back on as an historic debate on the meaning of academic freedom and the problem of classroom indoctrination. At the Inside Higher Ed website, Peter Wood, of the National Association of Scholars, has just posted a powerful reply to the recent “Freedom in the Classroom” statement issued by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). (See “Truths R Us.”) More important, Wood links to an extraordinary, formal, point-by-point response to the recent AAUP statement, co-authored by Peter Wood and Stephen Balch, and posted at the website of the National Association of Scholars (NAS).
Debates over academic freedom commonly hark back to now legendary statements by the AAUP from 1915, 1940, and 1970 on the topic. I believe that when future generations want to understand the nature of the debate over academic freedom and classroom indoctrination in our own era, they will hark back to the AAUP statement and the reply by the leaders of the NAS of 2007. This is history in the making, and compelling reading as well.
If for no other reason, you should look at Wood’s piece in order to read the “lost” section of the AAUP’s founding statement of academic freedom, which apparently exists nowhere else on the Internet, and which puts the AAUP of today to shame. But don’t stop there. These dueling statements on academic freedom and proper conduct in the classroom will resonate for years.