Category Archives: Academic Freedom


Northwestern U. Is Accused of Violating Academic Freedom

Northwestern University engaged in “serious violations of academic freedom” both in its dealings with a bioethics journal that published a controversial article and in its investigation of Laura Kipnis, a film professor whom students accused of wrongdoing over her essay criticizing its sexual-misconduct policies, a faculty panel has concluded.

In a report on its findings, the Northwestern Faculty Senate’s ad hoc committee on academic freedom urges the university to revise its sexual-harassment…


Legislative Panel Seeks to Open ‘Intellectual Diversity’ Office at U. of Tennessee

A committee of Tennessee lawmakers voted on Wednesday to spend nearly half a million dollars to open an office at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville that would “encourage more people with conservative views to speak their minds,” reported The Tennessean.

The move followed the state legislature’s vote, in 2016, to take $436,000 from the university’s diversity office and add it to a scholarship fund for minority engineering students.

In Wednesday’s vote, the State Senate’s education committe…


French Scholar on Way to Speak at Texas A&M Was Detained at Airport for 10 Hours

A visiting scholar who was scheduled to speak at Texas A&M University at College Station was detained at Houston International Airport last week and was about to be deported before university officials reached customs agents at the airport and persuaded them they were making a mistake, The Bryan-College Station Eagle reported.

The scholar, Henry Rousso, is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research who studies the history and memory of traumatic pasts, especially o…


Student Is Suspended for Filming Instructor Who Made Anti-Trump Remarks

Orange Coast College, a community college in California, has suspended a student for filming a faculty member who expressed anti-Trump sentiments in class last year, The Orange County Register reports.

The student, Caleb O’Neil, filmed his psychology instructor, Olga Perez Stable Cox, making comments about President Trump’s election during her human-sexuality class. In the video, Ms. Cox, who has taught at the college for more than 40 years, can be heard voicing concern about antigay sentim…


MLA Delegates Reject Call for an Academic Boycott of Israel

The Modern Language Association’s Delegate Assembly on Saturday defeated a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel and voted to move forward for consideration by the entire MLA membership another resolution that urges the association to refrain from endorsing a campaign for such boycotts, according to a posting on MLA Commons.

The group’s Executive Council will examine and may modify the anti-boycott resolution before forwarding it to the membership. In 2014, the membership defeated


Drexel Calls Professor’s Controversial Tweets Protected Speech

Drexel University on Thursday called a professor’s controversial social-media remarks “protected speech,” after the professor sparked an uproar online by tweeting that “all I want for Christmas is white genocide.”

George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of politics and global studies, drew harsh criticism over the tweet, which he posted on Christmas Eve. He followed up the post with another that stated, “To clarify: When the whites were massacred during the Haitian revolution, that wa…


U. of Oregon Law Professor Who Wore Blackface Violated Policy, Report Says

Nancy Shurtz, a law professor at the University of Oregon, committed “discriminatory harassment” by wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume during a party at her house, according to an investigative report released on Wednesday by the university.

After the party Ms. Shurtz was placed on leave, and some of her law colleagues called on her to resign. In a written statement, the university’s provost said any disciplinary action taken against Ms. Shurtz would be confidential.

According to t…


Wisconsin Regents Approve Post-Tenure Policies Condemned by Faculty

University of Wisconsin system regents on Thursday approved a new policy mandating that administrators conduct “independent, substantive reviews” of tenured faculty members every five years, The Journal Sentinel reports. While top administrators already have authority over post-tenure reviews, faculty critics have worried aloud that the change — which makes administrators’ duties in the area explicit — will make it easier for professors to be fired.

The new policy comes amid longstanding angst o…


Virginia Military Institute Defends Use of Coloring Sheets at Campus Event

The Virginia Military Institute’s superintendent has defended its annual “Reading Day,” an event that’s faced some backlash for trying to relieve stress by, among many other things, offering students coloring sheets, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

A poster for the event, which is scheduled for next Wednesday, sparked controversy when online commenters complained that it would coddle the institute’s cadets. “Reading Day” is an optional event designed to help students reduce stress. Activiti…


Oberlin College Fires Professor Over Anti-Semitic Social-Media Posts

Oberlin College on Tuesday fired a controversial faculty member who had drawn fierce criticism for social-media posts in which she claimed that “Israeli and Zionist Jews” were responsible for the 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks.

In a statement, the Ohio college’s Board of Trustees said it had voted to dismiss Joy D. Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, effective immediately.

Ms. Karega had been on paid leave since August, when the liberal-arts college’s faculty op…