April 30, 2003
at UCLA missing boat
note with alarm that the Academic Senate of UCLA, which
is a tax supported, public university, has taken
it upon itself to pass a resolution to condemn the war
in Iraq (now that it is largely over) and place the governing
of Iraq in the hands of the United Nations. I believe
it is unethical for a publicly-supported university to
politicize its academic role in this manner.
faculty members of the Senate who oppose this action
of the Senate cannot resign from the Senate without
also resigning their jobs as professors at the University.
So much for academic freedom! Free speech at UCLA,
possibly other institutions, requires a dissenting
professor to commit career suicide! What do you think?
Academic arrogance and intellectual
intolerance seem to have joined arms in the controversy
regarding the behavior of certain faculty senate members
at UCLA. Academic freedom and respect for the world of
ideas seem to be the victims here. The UCLA Faculty Senate’s
contempt for debate signals the rigidity of closed minds.
to acknowledge the legitimacy of conflicting opinions
sets in motion the building
of “camps” that
are readying for the mindless protection of ideas. Universities
were never intended to behave that way. For, it is in
the free exchange of ideas that new concepts can emerge.
With reference to academic bodies making pronouncements,
well, that deserves some careful investigation. Unless
or until the academic charter of a publicly-funded educational
institution specifically permits or requires political
pronouncements, they seem wholly inappropriate or simply
The interesting dimension of your question about political
opinions is that they are quite a bit like religious
perspectives. Almost everyone you meet is an expert in
each area. Frankly, what the UCLA Faculty Senate thinks
about just about anything beyond delivering top quality
teaching does not mean a thing to me. Their opinions
are theirs and when I want one of their non-academic
opinions, I will solicit same.