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 Students, faculty pose biggest threat to academic freedom, report finds

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PostSubject: Students, faculty pose biggest threat to academic freedom, report finds   Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:47 pm

More than a century ago, colleges and universities feared that outside forces such as corporations or state lawmakers would infringe upon academic freedom, but today the threat to free inquiry has shifted to internal campus forces, a report shows.



Politicized student bodies and radicalized faculty have proved more than willing to disregard academic freedom in the name of “academic justice,” as one Harvard student put it. Polls consistently have shown that large pluralities, if not majorities, of students favor restricting speech that is upsetting or offensive.

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said the biggest threat to academic freedom comes from students and faculty who believe “psychological safety from hearing viewpoints that they disagree with is more important than the ability to articulate arguments or listen to the opposing side in a sober, thoughtful manner.”

“Early on, the great threat to academic freedom perceived by the movers and shakers of higher education was meddlesome trustees, big business and state legislatures who were willing to invade campus with narrow and parochial views and shut down the free speech of academics,” Mr. Wood said. “Most of us think that is no longer the great danger. The great danger is not coming from outside of the university, but from within it.”

The National Association of Scholars released a report on Feb. 1 documenting changing perceptions of why academic freedom is important and what imperils it.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/8/academic-freedom-threatened-most-students-faculty-/

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