There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom

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  1. Academic FreedomWilliam Fisher, PhDDepartment of PsychologyDepartment of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity of Western OntarioCenter for HIV Intervention and PreventionUniversity of Connecticut

  2. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • Institutional ignorance and cowardice…

  3. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • University speech and harassment codes…

  4. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • Politically biased targeting of research funding… • Research on HIV+ persons’ transmission of the virus delayed for two decades. • Fisher & Fisher (2000) • 95/484 HIV+ patients engaged in 1822 unprotected sexual events past 3 month’s time. • 1100 unprotected sexual events involving HIV- or HIV? partners. • 236 HIV- or HIV? persons exposed to HIV in past 3 months.

  5. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • Research funding biases from the left… • Fisher et al (2000): • First NIH funded grant ever to focus on reduction of HIV transmission from HIV+ to HIV- persons. • “Prevention for Positives” official US public health policy. • No policy on “Prevention for Positives” in Canada.

  6. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • Research funding biases from the right… • NIH refusal to permit distribution of HIV prevention materials created with their funding, because of “two shits and a fuck,” and condom use exhortation.

  7. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • Research approval biases from the right… • University of Connecticut refusal to permit distribution of 30,000 condom matchbooks as part of research program.

  8. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom Lawsuits

  9. There is Far Too Little Academic Freedom • Institutional ignorance and cowardice, speech and harassment codes, research funding biases, and increasingly, lawsuits, are rampant, and come from the political left and the political right. • Attacks on academic freedom may be overt or covert and are rarely effectively confronted. • Freedom of expression is for ideas that people agree with and constitutional and legal protections evaporate quickly. • Tenure is the (relatively) surest protection.

  10. There is Far Too Much Academic Freedom • Research which violates moral absolutes…

  11. There is Far Too Much Academic Freedom • Teaching which violates moral absolutes… • “When we find them we try to kill them” • Homosexuals. • Women but not men who have sex outside of marriage.

  12. There is Far Too Much Academic Freedom • Exploitation of teaching and research opportunities to expound political as opposed to scholarly positions… • Latin American Studies

  13. There is Far Too Much Academic Freedom • Exploitation of teaching and research opportunities to expound political as opposed to scholarly positions… • Middle Eastern Studies

  14. There is Far Too Much Academic Freedom • Exploitation of teaching and research opportunities to expound political as opposed to scholarly positions… • Women’s Studies

  15. There is Far Too Much Academic Freedom • Research and teaching that violate moral absolutes are common. • Professorial exploitation of teaching and research opportunities to expound political beliefs is common. • There is no obvious way to police this. • Tenure is the relatively surest protection, for abusers of academic freedom as well as for defenders of it.

  16. Academic Freedomis a Very Fuzzy Category • There is both too little and too much academic freedom. • It is very difficult to confront situations in which there is too little academic freedom, and very difficult to police situations in which there is too much academic freedom. • Maybe this is what they mean when they say “There is no free lunch:” we pay for what academic freedom we enjoy in terms of enduring attacks and enduring academic license.

  17. Academic Freedomis a Very Fuzzy Category • Academic freedom is a principle that can come into conflict with other principles. • We live in a multiply principled universe and at best can adopt a hierarchical valuing approach: • Academic freedom > comfort • Academic freedom > rights to disrupt • Academic freedom < tolerance for murder