“A Template for Academic Freedom”

A shorter note than usual this time, to refer you all to a new weapon in the battle against censorship in education in the U.S.

Three faculty members–Valerie Johnson of DePaul University, Jennifer Ruth of Portland State University, and Emily Houh of the University of Cincinnati–wrote this two-page template for an Academic Senate Resolution that faculty at any institution can adapt to present to their own Academic Senate. The goal is to “get as many faculty senates as possible to adopt a resolutions called ‘Defending Academic Freedom to Teach about Race and Gender Justice and Critical Race Theory.'”

You can see the actual template here–it’s a Google doc that faculty can download to a local computer and edit for presentation to their own Academic Senate.

It’s refreshing to see the legalese of “WHEREAS” used, for once, in the name of fighting censorship:

WHEREAS state legislative proposals are being introduced across the United States that target academic discussions of racism and related issues in American history in schools, colleges and universities.

WHEREAS the term “divisive” is indeterminate, subjective, and chills the capacity of educators to explore a wide variety of topics based on subjective criteria that are inapposite from the goals of education and the development of essential critical thinking skills;

WHEREAS educating about systemic barriers to realizing a multiracial democracy based on race or gender should be understood as central to the active and engaged pursuit of knowledge in the 21st century to produce engaged and informed citizens;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Senate resolutely rejects any attempts by bodies external to the faculty to restrict or dictate university curriculum on any matter, including matters related to racial and social justice, and will stand firm against encroachment on faculty authority by the legislature or the Boards of Trustees.

That’s just a short excerpt. If you are a faculty member at a higher-ed institution, go to the link and download it. If you know a faculty member, point them to it. This is a way to help do our part in this battle against censorship meant to shut down education on racism, sexism, and other ongoing human problems that have and do exist in the U.S.

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