Phi Beta Cons

Important New Recommendations For Ensuring Academic Freedom

As Inside Higher Ed reports:

The Israel on Campus Coalition, a pro-Israel group with ties to Hillel…[has] issued a report, “Academic Rights, Academic Responsibilities: A New Approach,” that calls for a more nuanced approach to campus disputes over things people say that may offend others. The report is full of statements about the importance of academic freedom, but also includes suggestions that run counter to current policies at many colleges. For example, the report suggests the creation of new “academic freedom task forces,” involving both academics and those outside academe, to discuss academic freedom issues. And the report calls for the creation of interdisciplinary — not departmental — committees to “help review faculty work, consider tenure, address grievance procedures, and possibly review doctoral candidates.” These committees are needed, the report says, because too many decisions — even on campuses with such committees — are made by departments alone. Shifting more decisions to the interdisciplinary level “can remove the specter of groupthink or favoritism within a particular department,” the report says. Likewise, these panels would be better suited to investigate grievances of students because the panels would not be as likely to involve colleagues being asked to investigate their friends.

The 54-page report can be found here.

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