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Dimensions in academic freedom noted scholars and administrators discussed a central issue in education in a series of four programs. The University of Illinois radio service and the College of Law of the University of Illinois present a study of one of the challenges of the modern university. In this second program our third daughter Laban attorney and former president of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents will speak on academic freedom external relations of the university. Mr. de Botton Laban began his remarks with a reference to a declaration by the Regents of the University of Wisconsin written in 1894 in response to a demand of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction that Professor Richard T Ely be dismissed as a member of the faculty because of alleged heretical writings concerning the trade union movement. This declaration called by many the Magna Carta of academic freedom in America stated. We cannot for a moment believe that knowledge has reached its final goal or
that the present condition of society is perfect. Mr divide Laban continued. We must therefore welcome from our teachers such discussions as shall suggest the means and prepare the way by which knowledge may be extended present evils be removed and others prevented. We would be unworthy of the position we hold if we did not believe in progress. In all departments of knowledge in all lines of academic investigation. It is of the utmost importance that the investigator should be absolutely free. To follow the indications of truth. Wherever they may lead. Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere. We believe the Great State University of Wisconsin should ever encourage encourage that continual and fearless sifting and when knowing by which along
that truth can be found. And that closes the quotation. In 1964 Seventy years later. The regions of the University of Wisconsin and converting traditional Faculty Tenure policies into a legal tenure code unanimously unanimously declared this. In adopting this codification. Of the rules and regulations of the University of Wisconsin. Relating to academic tenure. The regents reaffirm. Their historic commitment to security a professorial tenure. And two academic freedom. It is designed to protect. These rules and regulations are promulgated in the conviction that in serving a free society. The scholar must himself be free. Only thus can he seek the truth. Develop wisdom and contribute to society those expressions of the intellect
that ennoble mankind. The security of the scholar protects him not only against those who would enslave the mind but also against anxieties which divert him from his role as a scholar. And teacher. The regions take this opportunity to re dedicate themselves to maintaining in this university those conditions which are indispensable to the flowering of the human mind. And that causes the quotation from the 1964 statement. And I told her eighteen thousand nine hundred sixty seven. As the result of protests against recruitment interviewers. By Dow Chemical Company. And the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin. A confrontation occurred. Between the protesters and the police. Violence ensued. And some of the
policeman. And about 75 to 75 of the student protesters were injured. The use of police against the students. Particularly off campus police. The fact that a substantial number of students were injured. And the fact that the protest provided a tangible expression of the revulsion. Of many students and faculty members to the horror of the Vietnam War. Resulted in calls for suspension of. An boycott against the holding of classes. During the succeeding two or three days. Approximately one hundred fifty faculty members. And teaching assistance either did not meet. Or dismissed their classes. There were demands by a number of politicians and newspapers for punishment I've already prize rules against the faculty
members and teaching assistants involved. At the meeting of the Regents of the University of Wisconsin held one month later. The following resolution. Was moved. And failed of adoption by one vote. They all have adoption out a vote of 5 to 4. I read the resolution it was moved and failed. That any teaching assistant. Or faculty member who on October 18th 19th 20th 21st or 23rd 1967. Without a legitimate excuse. Did not appear to conduct his or her class or dismissed his or her class after assembly. On the grounds that the students there Rob should participate in or support the strike. Then progress shall be deemed guilty of conduct constituting adequate cause for dismissal and shall be removed from his or her
teaching assignment. And shall have his or her employment terminated. Those quotation. Essential to the maintenance of academic freedom. As a system of tenure. Based upon rules assuring that once a faculty member has achieved tenure status he cannot be discharged except for a good cause shown. Upon reasonable notice. And following a fair hearing. The tenure code. Which had been adopted. In 1964 followed carefully the standards proposed by the American Association of University Professors in providing academic due process to any faculty member whose continued tenure might be questioned and provided the procedure within the organization of the faculty for the handling of complaints. Readily apparent. Is the answer to the question. What
caused. Nearly half of the members of the Board of Regents which had unanimously adopted the ten year code to the accompaniment of the starting statement I just read to you to resign three years later to disregard the tenure code the board had approved to enforce a completely ex post facto rule and to deprive the faculty members and teaching assistants involved even the forms of due process. The answer. Goes to the heart. Of the subject. Dean Chrebet. And the lectures Committee have asked me to discuss with you today. My charge was to examine the freedom of the university. These are the the external society. To address myself to the questions. What freedom. Is
necessary to the university that it may properly perform its function and its role to the external society. How can such freedom be secured. Before addressing the questions let me briefly state the definition of the term academic freedom as I understand it. And as that term is intended by me as used in these remarks it is necessary to look first to the mission. Of the university. The mission of the scholar. The objective of the University of the scholar is primarily. The seeking. And ascertainment of truth. Truth. In this sense is that which is discoverable by man. Through his powers of investigation and the exercise of his ingenuity. Truth. In
this sense does not refer. To any doctrine or belief. Depending for its origin. Or validity upon any source or theory of divine inspiration or disclosure. Truth in the sense spoken of here. Does not imply merely getting at the facts. Truth in the academic freedom context is concerned with facts because of their significance. Their relationship. Within a system. Of knowledge. Truth thus consists in chart. Of the body of conclusions or opinions and even theories. Or beliefs. Which the scholar draws or derives from his observations. Investigations. And cogitations. Truth includes the scholars explanation. Of the structure and
relationship of things and concepts and has the same meaning. Whether thought out from the standpoint of the humanist. The social scientist or the physical or biological scientist. And pursuing his mission to discover the truth the scholar. Merely by inquiring or investigating. Suggests that there are or may be grounds for accepting for rejecting a. Previously accepted precepts. In the search for truth. The challenge to existing doctrines conclusions and believes is never ending. So long as there remain data relationships are concepts which require explanation. Thus. My answer to the question. As to the amount of freedom. Necessary. To the university that it may properly perform its function and role to the external society. Is that the
university by which I mean the faculty and the students. Must have complete. And I'm qualified. Freedom. To inquire. And investigate to interpret data and to arrive at. And announce conclusions in and out of the classroom. Without the fear or reality of sanctions or controls of any kind. Whether direct or indirect whether peculiarity or related to status or advancement or whether from within. Or without. The institution. This is a societal interest. Which is independent although not superior to. The right of the individual scholar as a citizen to the exercise of freedom of inquiry and expression. As Professor David Feldman the former president of the American
Association of University Professors pointed out in his comment on academic freedom in American law. In the 1961 Wisconsin Law Review most people at least when they are speaking publicly. Would not today. Subscribe to the argument of William Jennings Bryan. In scopes versus state. That and I quote the hand that writes the teacher's paycheck is the hand that runs the schools. Otherwise a teacher might teach anything. Or the equally blunt statement of the hired hand theory expounded by Senator Clayton Alaska of New York. In saying that teachers who are paid out of public funds have no right to believe in changes in the state or national government. Or the pronouncement of the executive vice president. Of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute following
dismissal of a literary critic from the faculty because of his political view as that and I quote we have here to the unwritten regulation. Of longstanding. That there shall be excluded from our classroom all controversy all discussions. About politics religion and sociology both quotations. Because most people do profess to favor academic freedom. To illustrate the amount of freedom a university requires if it's to perform its societal function it is necessary to look at some examples of the kinds of influence which have resulted in the evolution. Of Freedom. A wide variety of subjects of cause difficulty. Clearly the principal objective. Of a number of attackers of academic freedom. During the last three quarters of a century. Has been to suppress economic nonconformity.
It's no secret that there are educators who are critical of aspects of the capitalistic system. Attacks on professors whose investigations lead them to question something old. In the quest for something new which will be better than the old rarely take the form of direct argument. Contention or exposition on the merits rather the economic groups affected or which think they might be affected by a scholar as investigations or teachings attempt to counter the work of a scholar by the use of such biased characterizations as fellow traveler pink red socialist un-American. Communist anti-Christian. And using these examples of biased words employed by attackers of academic freedom. I do not intend any distinction depending upon whether the attack comes from the left. Or the right. But notwithstanding that enunciations by
students for a democratic society and similar groups of our universities as institutions which must be brought down. Because they are instruments of the liberal corporate structure it must be admitted I think that in this country at the present time. Attacks upon academic freedom which are economically oriented. Come most often from the extreme right end of the political spectrum. The noteworthy thing about the attackers of economic nonconformity in the academic community. Is that although their number is small they seem to be able to portray themselves as the protectors of free enterprise thus appealing to considerable numbers of persons in the business community. Who because their interest in education is solely as a means to a practical end. The earning of
more money. Than they get earned without it. I have never been inspired. By the challenge. Of acquiring knowledge for its own sake. And who are therefore especially impressed by the argument that the academic social scientist or humanist is impractical or unreliable. All of us have been disturbed. At one time or another about attacks made upon our institutions of higher learning in the name of religion. Attacks which range all the way from characterizing universities as being godless. Atheistic. Or anti-religious. To demands that departments of religion be established and that professors be appointed to a Christianized the students. Quite often those who attack academic freedom in the name of religion are also active in attacks on our scholars in the name of economic nonconformity.
Professor Robert M. MacGyver. In his book. Academic freedom in our time pointed out it seems to be as easy for certain minds to identify the divine law with their economic predilections as with their religious tenets. There's another side of the coin with respect to the relationship between religion and academic freedom. This concerns the problem which arises. When the moral. Or religious convictions. Of the teacher. Make him subject to attack. Or even dismissal. Such cases arise when a teacher's convictions lead him to refuse to comply. With some law or regulation. Or to conform with some customary standard. Or to support some cause which would involve violation of his creed. A conscientious objector. May refuse to obey a draft
law. Or may arouse even more resentment by taking a strong public anti-war position. Conscientious objectors have been dismissed. From their academic positions. And I know it from the public prints that there is a move afoot in Illinois. At the behest of state superintendent Ray Paige to forbid students and Roland. Are continuation. Because of their views on that subject. One of the members. A medical doctor of the Board of Regents upon which I served. Recently inquired at a board meeting. What qualifications a law professor has to express an opinion on the Vietnam War. We hear increasing demands from Washington and elsewhere. To still criticism of our
government's military policy. Typified by the recent statement of General Westmoreland. At the time that the time has come for debating to end. It is difficult to conceive. A situation. Showing a greater negation. Of intellectual freedom. Than that shown where a faculty member is dismissed. Or a student is denied admission or expelled or where either. Would be obliged to divert his attentions to concerned with the possibility. Of dismissal. Or other reprisal because his opinion as to what is good for the country and for humanity. At a given time. Differs from that of the military establishment. Another source of attack upon academic freedom. Comes
from those who although they would concede. That the scholar should not be fettered by economic or religious dogma. And indeed cannot constitutionally be sole fettered nevertheless believe there is or should be an establishment of morality. And conventional wisdom. Governing social relations which may not be questioned by the scholar. Either as an investigator. A teacher. Or a citizen. The most troublesome problems concerns sex relationships for example birth control premarital and extramarital sexual conduct. For and related subjects. The records are replete. With examples of scholars who have been dismissed on charges ranging from membership in the American sunbathers association in the case of a professor of physics at a Tennessee college to the case of Bertrand
Russell. Whose removal as a professor of philosophy. At the College of the city of New York in 1940. Was prompted by charges that his books promoted immoral and salacious doctrines. Attacks on academic freedom. In the name of protection of the mores of sexual conduct is doubly outrageous because in addition to involving an attempt to destroy freedom of inquiry comment any attack on academic freedom they involve in many instances and utter disregard on the part of the attackers of the Gulf. Which exists between the so-called mores not to be protected and the actual prevailing social practice. The dismissal. Of about one year before the expiration of his appointment. Of an assistant professor. At the University of Illinois. Because of certain comments.
Which he had made. Relating to sexual conduct. Was characterized by committee AP. The American Association of University Professors as creating and I quote substantial concern. Over the question. Whether the university involved actually will permit. Untrammeled discussion of highly controversial issues or whether freedom to express unpopular view was will be seriously qualified by the test of encouragement and academic responsibility. Close quotation. In that case in announcing the reasons. For the dismissal. Of the assistant professor. The institutional president fell back on the old cliches. He stated and I quote. I consider. The
faculty members letter to a student newspaper. A grave breach of academic responsibility. The views expressed are offensive. And repugnant. Contrary to commonly accepted standards of morality. And their public as spousal may be interpreted as encouragement of immoral behavior. It is clear that his conduct has been prejudicial to the best interests of the university as well as quotation. The case is a lot. Of the form. Which attacks on academic freedom. May be expected to take in the future. Whether those attacks originate from distaste for our professor's views on so-called moral subjects or his views on social economic or political subjects. For example in the June 1963
issue of the American governing board reports published by the Association of governing boards of state universities and allied institutions a synopsis of remarks made at a panel discussion of Regent responsibilities shows one region advocating the fostering of an academic claimant which guarantees freedom of responsible thinking. And research. Another trustee who said it is fatal to select or promote only those faculty members who conform to an acceptable political social or religious code. Saw no inconsistency. In declaring that trustees and regents have the duty of initiating of initiating dismissal proceedings for a faculty member who may be found to be a member of the Communist Party. I have read to you the reasons given by the institutional president. For the dismissal of the assistant
professor because of the content of the letter and sex mores written to a student newspaper. What did the board of trustees have to say on the subject. After finding among other things that the assistant professor's letter and I quote. Was not a reasoned statement. Marshalling evidence in support of us held by him and that the language of that letter was not in keeping with those standards of temperate and us dignity and respect for the opinions of others which should characterize public expression by members of the faculty of the university. As well as quotation. The board concluded that it believed and I quote again that any responsible expression of views by members of the faculty even though I'm popular and even possibly untenable. Is in order. And that it did not condemn the assistant
professor's actions merely because he expressed views contrary to commonly accepted beliefs and standards but rather because of the manner in which he expressed those views. And that the board did not consider that letter. A and I quote responsible and proper expression of the views stated in it.
Dimensions in academic freedom
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#2 (Reel 1)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 69-10-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Dimensions in academic freedom; #2 (Reel 1),” 1968-12-30, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
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APA: Dimensions in academic freedom; #2 (Reel 1). Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from