InsideHigherEd is a journal covering higher education from the left. It is an independent journal but it might as well be financed by the teacher unions. An article in today's issue pretends to cover the publication of the Pennsylvania Committee on Academic Freedom report, but it is little more a propaganda piece for the opponents of academic freedom who are losing the battle in Pennsylvania because of their misguided strategy of making me their target, aided and abetted by the dishonest reporting of InsideHigher Ed.
The overriding goal of the opponents of academic freedom led by the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors is to kill Horowitz -- figuratively of course. This is accomplished by using every means necessary and any means available to portray him as an evil demon intent on firing leftist academics, imposing government controls on academic speech and making up abuses that don't exist. The scale of lying by AFT spokesmen and others in this wolf pack is breath-taking. The partisan journalism of InsideHigherEd and other shills for the wolf pack is disgraceful.
The AFT for example, issued a press release on the Academic Freedom report whose headline reads: "Pennsylvania Joins 20 States In Rejecting Legislation to Restrict a Free Exchange of Ideas on Campus." Of course there is no such legislation. Not in 20 states, nor in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania committee never considered legislation. Neither I nor any Republican member of the Committee nor any witness supporting academic reform proposed legislation. Yet this is the main point in the AFT report on the hearings.
The editor of InsideHigherEd.com has used a similar tactic in misreporting what happened, though not so ham-handed. I talked at length to Scott and provided him with the original report that was later eviscerated and rewritten by the unions. Yet his article on the report is merely a summary of the talking points of the unions and the Democrats on the committee throughout the hearings. Their claim: there are no abuses of students or they are so rare that they are not important and besides, the universities have grievance machinery and procedures already in place to handle them.
This is false. The report -- before it was gutted -- summarized the testimony as to why there are so few student complaints. For example, Gib Armstrong, a member of the Committee, had more than than thirty signed complaints for the committee from students who were afraid to testify for fear of reprisal. This was one problem. A second problem was that when the committee hearings were held there were no academic freedom protections for students on any of the 17 Pennsylvania state campuses. If there are no protections why would any student complain. There was also no grievance machinery on any of the 17 Pennsylvania state campuses for students to complain about academic freedom abuses. If there are no protections and there is no grievance machinery and students are not informed that they have rights, why would they complain.
This is the really big lie put out by the opposition and promoted by InsideHigherEd.com. It is an attempt to prevent students in Pennsylvania (and elsewhere) from getting basic rights. But the fact is that thanks to the efforts we made in Pennsylvania two of the three major universities in the state -- Temple and Penn State -- have now adopted "student-specific" bills of rights (the words "student-specific" were excised from the report by commissar Lynn Herman in a cya operation for the Penn State administration. This is a major victory.and no amount of lying by the AFT and its journalistic shills is going to change that. The two reforms which we achieved at Temple and Penn State made up the original Appendix C of the report. The fact that Lynn Herman deleted them in the report does not change the fact they now exist in the regulations of Temple and Penn. Here they are:
New Pennsylvania State University and Temple University Academic Freedom Policies
Pennsylvania State University:
“The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject. The faculty member is, however, responsible for the maintenance of appropriate standards of scholarship and teaching ability. It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. The faculty member is expected to train students to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials which they need if they are to think intelligently. Hence in giving instruction upon controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without supersession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators.
No faculty member may claim as a right the privilege of discussing in the classroom controversial topics outside his/her own field of study. The faculty member is normally bound not to take advantage of his/her position by introducing into the classroom provocative discussions of irrelevant subjects not within the field of his/her study. ”
Faculty Senate Policy 20-00:
“Students having concerns about situations that arise within the classroom, or concerns with instructor behavior in a course that violates University standards of classroom conduct as defined in Policy HR64 "Academic Freedom," may seek resolution according to the recommended procedures established under Policy 20-00, Resolution of Classroom Problems.
In every case, student concerns arising from questions about classroom situations or behavior shall be resolved in a manner that provides for equity and due process for students and for instructors. Students may attempt to resolve classroom problems with assurance that confidentiality will be maintained as appropriate.”
Title: Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities
Policy Number: 03.70.02
Effective Date: August 1, 2006
Issuing Authority: Board of Trustees
As an academic institution, Temple University exists for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.
Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. The University and the faculty have a responsibility to provide students with opportunities and protections that promote the learning process in all its aspects. Students similarly should exercise their freedom with responsibility.
Temple University therefore reaffirms its commitment to academic freedom, and adopts the following statement of academic freedom principles applicable to faculty and students:
Statement of Principles
1. Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial (or other) matter which has no relation to their subject. The faculty member is responsible, however, for maintaining academic standards in the presentation of course materials. [It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. The faculty member is expected to train students to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials, which they need if they are to think intelligently. Hence, in giving instruction upon controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without super-cession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators.]
2. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for the truth.
3. Faculty members in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.
4. Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the information or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but students are responsible for learning the content of the course of study in which they are enrolled. The validity of academic ideas, theories, arguments and views should be measured against the relevant academic standards.
5. Students should have protection through orderly grievance procedures against prejudiced or capricious evaluations that are not intellectually relevant to the subject matter under consideration. At the same time, students are responsible for complying with the standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
Student Grievance Procedure
Except in cases in which a student challenges a grade received in connection with a course, the following procedures shall apply when a student believes that a faculty member has infringed upon the student’s academic rights as set forth in this policy. In cases in which the student is challenging a grade in connection with a course, the student shall follow the grade appeal procedure applicable to the school or college in which the course is offered.
1. If a student grievance for an alleged violation of academic rights cannot be resolved between the faculty member and the student, or if the student does not feel comfortable in discussing the matter directly with the faculty member, the student may bring an informal complaint to the Student Ombudsperson of the school or college to try to effect an informal resolution.
2. If a resolution satisfactory to the student is not obtained through an informal mediation process with the Student Ombudsperson, the student may submit a formal, written grievance to the Dean or the Dean’s designee.
3. The Dean or the Dean’s designee may attempt informal resolution through discussion with the student and faculty member. If a mutually agreeable resolution is not achieved through informal discussion, the Dean shall refer the matter for consideration in accordance with the procedures for resolution of student grievances as set forth in the Bylaws of the school or college.
4. The Dean will consider the recommendation of the school or college’s student grievance committee and issue a written decision and remedy. Appropriate precautions should be developed to safeguard the confidentiality of the grievance proceedings, including information about the outcome.
5. Either party to a grievance may appeal the decision of the Dean to the Provost, in writing, within ten (10) days following notice of the Dean’s decision. A written reply by the other party must be filed within ten (10) days after receipt of the appeal. The Dean’s decision shall be held in abeyance pending appeal. The Provost has discretion to determine the information and procedure that he/she will utilize in deciding each appeal. The decision of the Provost shall be in writing and shall be final.
Recordkeeping and Reporting
The officers should develop mechanisms and procedures for developing and maintaining records in a confidential manner of all grievances brought pursuant to this policy. In addition, the officers shall provide a report on all grievances pursuant to this policy each semester to the Chairs of the Student Affairs and the Academic Affairs Committees of the Board of Trustees, and establish a mechanism for annual reviews of this policy and its effectiveness by appropriate University officials and the Board of Trustees.
This policy shall become effective on August 1, 2006.