Check out this insightful essay (“Is Academic Freedom a License to Indoctriate?“) by Peter Wood in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Wood discusses Penn State’s decision . .
. . . to mutilate its academic freedom policy, HR64, to make clear that faculty members have no particular obligation to avoid indoctrinating students “with ready made conclusions on controversial subjects.” That was one clause eliminated from Penn State’s academic freedom policy, but not the only one. The redactors also decided it is no longer proper to call on faculty members to demonstrate “a fair and judicial mind” in presenting information; or to avoid subjecting divergent opinions to “suppression or innuendo.” And they decided to scrub the provisions that enjoined a Penn State faculty member not to use the classroom to discuss “controversial topics outside his/her own field;” and not to take advantage of professorial authority to introduce into the classroom “provocative discussions of irrelevant subjects.
Wood’s appropriately biting assessment:
What happened at Penn State is a relatively small but startlingly clear distillation of the problem. A self-serving collection of faculty members decided they no longer wanted the trammels of having to avoid “indoctrinating” students. That’s the word they actually struck from their policy on academic freedom. Why on earth would the emancipated, enlightened faculty members of a major university want the right to indoctrinate? Should we be worried about the state of freedom in a society where a privileged elite covets this right?
The great irony in all this is that the secular left routinely (and usually unfairly) accuses religious conservatives of anti-intellectual ”indoctrination.” Don’t the psychologists call this phenomenon “projection”?
This post originally appeared here.