Phi Beta Cons

Review of O’Neil’s Book on Academic Freedom

In this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call, I review Professor Robert O’Neil’s recent book Academic Freedom in the Wired World.

It is a learned book that probes every corner of the realm of academic freedom, but I think the author is too inclined to want to make “academic freedom” a trump card for policy disputes having nothing at all to do with the freedom of scholars to investigate, write, and speak. One example is affirmative action. Should courts (and everyone else) just stay out of the debate over admission standards on the grounds that choosing which students to admit is a matter of “academic freedom?” I think not.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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