Re: Academic Freedom

Ashley — I know that the passive voice has its defenders, but I think it really causes a problem when used by the letter-writer (see what I did there?) here:

The free search for truth does not require that every available book be read, that every poem be recited, that every available speaker be invited to campus.  In the present context, genuine academic freedom does not require that every play ever written be performed publicly on a university campus.

Well, no. But academic freedom — and free speech in general — does mean that when a student or professor wants to read a book, recite a poem, invite a speaker, or perform a play, they have the right to. If a public school denies that right, it is violating the First Amendment; if a private school (such as the one in question) denies that right, it is violating the principle of academic freedom.

When the school decided to allow the play, it had plenty of sponsors:

The women and gender studies program, the English department, the sociology department, the Honors Program, and the Institute for Hate Studies are teaming up to sponsor “({Monologues, Dialogues & Stories}): Interdisciplinary Academic Discussion on Women’s Narratives, Catholic Theologies, Violence Against Women, and ‘The Vagina Monologues.’ “

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