“Academic Freedom Has Limits. Where They Are Isn’t Always Clear.”
Chronicle of Higher Education
[Editor’s Note: One would think the Chronicle of Higher Education might get its facts right, particularly given its readership. However, author Kevin Carey, “director of the education-policy program at New America,” repeats the corporate media falsehood that this author sent Lenny and Veronique Pozner a certified letter out-of-the-blue “demand[ing] proof that their son had ever been alive.” In fact, the letter was in response to Lenny Pozner’s harassive March 22, 2015 copyright infringement claim filed against Memory Hole Blog, where I requested evidence that Pozner was the rightful owner of the image in question–indeed, the same image that emerged following a school massacre in Peshawar Pakistan in December 2014 purporting to be one of the decedents! This request was also made following Pozner’s many dubious copyright claims against alternative media outlets that I contended amount to a muzzle on First Amendment-protected free speech–the same constitutional safeguard showboated by so many major media outlets, including the Chronicle.
Subsequent evidence has emerged suggesting that Pozner has led an online harassment and stalking campaign against citizens and alternative media who’ve attempted to publicly question and research the Sandy Hook School massacre. Mainstream media outlets have turned a blind eye to this pattern of likely criminal activity. -JFT]
His efforts in this regard included mailing a certified letter to the parents of Noah Pozner, a 6-year-old Sandy Hook victim whose body was torn to pieces by .223-caliber bullets fired from a military-style rifle, in which he demanded proof that their son had ever been alive. When they protested, Tracy called them “alleged parents” who were financially profiting from a hoax.
One of the most difficult jobs campus leaders face is choosing between academic community and academic freedom. Florida Atlantic got stuck with a tenured truther, and showed him the door. It is not the only institution recently forced to choose between academic community and academic freedom. These values, we are learning, are not wholly reconcilable at a modern university. One of the most difficult jobs campus leaders face is choosing between them.
Tracy’s repugnant conduct has few defenders, none among the sane. Other cases are more complex. Wheaton College, in Illinois, a mostly-white evangelical college, insists that it is not firing Larycia Hawkins, a tenured woman of color, for wearing a hijab in solidarity with oppressed Muslims. The official reason has to do with Hawkins’s suspiciously coincidental failure to adhere to religious doctrine involving the tripartite nature of God, a dispute that mattered a great deal in England 400 years ago.
Religious belief instantiated in college policy is, more or less by definition, indisputable. But if that’s the case, one wonders why Wheaton bothers to employ scholars to explore theology; it would be easier to just hand down the Word from on high. Churches and colleges are not the same thing.
Ward Churchill was officially fired by the University of Colorado at Boulder for research misconduct, but was actually fired for his senseless and inhumane denunciation of the thousands killed by terrorists on September 11, 2001. Steven Salaita’s tenured job offer was canceled by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign because of his profane anti-Israel writings on social media. At least the Illinois trustees didn’t pretend there was another reason, and they paid Salaita $600,000 to settle his lawsuits.