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"Obvious Assault on Academic Freedom"

Update 4/12/11: At their recent meeting, the American Conference for Irish Studies passed a resolution supporting "the American Association of University Professors's efforts on behalf of academic freedom, shared governance, and tenure in Higher Education, and it endorses Chancellor Martin's affirmation of the value of academic freedom in her April 1 letter to the campus community."

Update 4/1/11: The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced today that it would release some of Professor Cronon’s e-mail messages, excluding “private email exchanges among scholars that fall within the orbit of academic freedom and all that is entailed by it.” The University will also exclude messages that include student information, and those “that could be considered personal pursuant to Wisconsin Supreme Court case law.”

The AAUP applauds Chancellor Martin’s defense of academic freedom in this case. As she states in a release today “When faculty members use email or any other medium to develop and share their thoughts with one another, they must be able to assume a right to the privacy of those exchanges, barring violations of state law or university policy. Having every exchange of ideas subject to public exposure puts academic freedom in peril and threatens the processes by which knowledge is created. The consequence for our state will be the loss of the most talented and creative faculty who will choose to leave for universities where collegial exchange and the development of ideas can be undertaken without fear of premature exposure or reprisal for unpopular positions.”


Talking Points Memo

Chronicle of Higher Educatio

Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC

Original post (3/28/11):
The AAUP urges the University of Wisconsin-Madison not to comply with a request by the Wisconsin Republican party for the e-mails of a professor who criticized the Republican governor's "assault on collective bargaining rights" and raised questions about the influence of a national conservative group on state legislative activity.

The Republican party requested the e-mails after William Cronon, a professor of history, geography and environmental studies, discussed on his blog the part played the American Legislative Exchange Council in promoting anti-union sentiment and legislation.

Cronon has said, correctly in our view, that the request for his e-mails is an "obvious assault on academic freedom."

Read the AAUP letter to University of Wisconsin chancellor Carolyn (Biddy) Martin.  

Publication Date: 
Monday, March 28, 2011