[It is a sad business, but with the decline in numbers of tenured faculty and vast increase in part-time teaching, academic freedom on any number of topics is severely restricted.  A department chair elected at Brooklyn College recently was forced to forego the job because someone turned up a blog in which he had been critical of religion.  Others have been hit because they have offered criticisms of the Israeli occupation.  Criticisms of the policies of the Bush administration and right wingers generally can put one at risk of vicious ad hominem attacks which needless to say can carry over into tenure and promotion actions which are generally confidential. Having been on both sides of the fence in the past as an academic, I can only imagine the caution with which vulnerable people may be expressing themselves — at the very least forced to follow the cheap media game rules of ‘on the one hand and on the other hand’ in instances where there is only one right ‘opinion’ — the one that accords with the facts as we can best know them.

In a a way I am glad that I am out of there and into full time blogging now — free either of putting myself or more importantly my colleagues at risk through speaking the truth as I best can discover it.  But I worry about the future health of the nation if increasing numbers of academics fear exposing lies, injustices, and deceptions wherever they may find them. Ed Kent]

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PESSIMISTIC VIEWS ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Social scientists are more worried now than during McCarthy
era, survey finds. Sociologists consider why and what to do
about it.
http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/15/freedom

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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