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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Freedom to comply

Freedom of speech is a right we champion as an inherent right that all Americans are afforded from birth onward.

In universities across the United States, however, that right is being restricted to the point where exercising it results in punishment.

Professors across the U.S. are having their freedom of speech controlled by administrators.

According to an Indiana Daily Student article from Tuesday, professors from Chicago State University, Colorado State University and the University of Illinois are among the many academics who face opposition from their ?administration.

At Colorado State University, a faculty member had his email account suspended after he criticized recent firings.

In response to these recent events, the Bloomington Faculty Council voted to amend a resolution that asserts their academic freedom of speech at IU.

The amendment had a clause of the resolution that stated teachers or librarians should “exercise appropriate restraint” when expressing their views or opinions, which was removed.

The fact remains that academic freedom is an inherent right of academia. In 1940, the American Association of University Professors released a Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, stating “Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research.

“Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning.”

In order for academics to produce honest research or opinions that aid in furthering the education of the general public, they need the ability to express said findings or thoughts freely without fear of ?repercussions.

Think back to professors who have studied topics deemed too controversial or crude for education.

Imagine how delayed our medicine or legal systems would be if academics were constrained by fear.

Will IU administrators work to restrict what faculty members are permitted to say in or outside the classroom? To me, it seems highly unlikely. IU has already been a university where controversial research has taken place.

Think about Alfred Kinsey. His research was met with severe backlash from the general community.

What Kinsey produced helped broaden the understanding of human sexuality as we know it.

If the University had censored him, that understanding would undoubtedly be profoundly affected.

For the betterment of all people, since all people inherently benefit from increased human knowledge, academic freedom of speech ought to be an inherent right.

I applaud the Bloomington Faculty Council for working on this resolution to protect that right. Our university stands strong when ethical, educational thoughts and actions are left unrestricted and unpunished by those who disagree with them.

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