Higher-education officials always tell us how concerned they are that students have a place that feels safe, inviting, and inclusive. That’s way overdone, but fine. What about the faculty, though?
In today’s Martin Center article, Professor Lee Jones argues that college administrators don’t do enough to support their faculty members when they’re under stress. In fact, they are often the cause of that stress. He recounts two recent cases where faculty members took their own lives, including Mike Adams of UNC-Wilmington, who was turned into a pariah by the administration and many fellow professors.
Those cases both involved conservatives who disagreed with the dominant leftist views in higher education. Jones thinks it would help if school officials made it clear that they support academic freedom and won’t tolerate abusive bullying. He writes, “One step higher education could take to support faculty mental health is rigorously defending faculty academic liberty, regardless of politics or a contrarian stance.”
That applies to all points of view. Jones also notes a case at Auburn where a leftist faculty member came under fire for a tweet giving his very negative views on the police.
Jones also mentions the ongoing case involving a Converse College prof who declined to participate in “diversity training” and has been pilloried for it.
To be sure, colleges face tremendous political pressure from trustees, regents, legislators, and others. When the mob or “cancel culture” comes for a contrarian professor, however, administrators need to worry less about appeasing the mob with “We do not condone” statements and more about standing up for academic freedom. When they do, they will have generations of hard-won liberties and the Constitution of the United States behind them.