Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring 2002
E. R. Klein
Whither Academic Freedom?
Academic freedom has become the enemy of the individual professors working in colleges and universities across the United States. Despite its historical (and maybe even essential) roots in the First Amendment, contemporary case law has consistently shown that professors, unlike most members of society, have no rights to free speech on their respective campuses. (Ironically, this is especially true on our State campuses.) Outlined is the dramatic change in the history of the courts from recognizing “academic freedom” as a construct needed to protect professors from the status quo, to the abuse of “academic freedom” appropriated to protect the institution from “undesirable” professorial actions such as politically incorrect speech or research. Klein warns all those in the academy to become familiar with this pernicious 180-degree turn in the use of the “academic freedom” construct.