Friday, 27 May 2011

In Passing

Academic “accountability”

Words, words, words...  Dept
Instapundit linked an Inside Higher Ed story about a freedom of expression scandal at the University of California at San Diego. Executive summary: "Professor B” does some research with which "Professor A” disagrees- noisily.  The dean intervenes, sending "Professor A” a letter, telling him to knock it off or face "formal discipline, which can include written censure, reduction in salary, demotion, suspension, or dismissal.”

The faculty, who had already examined the dispute and found that neither professor had acted unprofessionally became, unsuprisingly, upset:
"We can not avoid the conclusion that the dean’s letter contains clear and unacceptable violations of core academic freedom rights, violations that were apparently implicitly or explicitly supported by others in the university administration at the time...”
...and this week the administration responded...
"...We acknowledge the recent determination by the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) and agree with CAF that the administration has a fundamental responsibility to protect the rights of faculty to research and publish scholarly work, and we will jointly redouble our efforts to ensure that every member of our administration fully understands this responsibility.”
Given the endless fulmination from the academy against so-called corruption and misbehaviour in the private sector, one might wonder:  Should "clear and unacceptable violations of core academic freedom rights” possibly be sufficient cause for firing the dean involved (or at least putting him on double secret probation)?

Don’t let’s be silly...


Elsewhere:
The San Diego Union-Tribune names some names.[1]

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[1]  Another indicator of the low (actual) stakes involved:  The faculty committee report - a report investigating a dispute that was probably notorious on campus - redacts the names of the professors involved, and even the name of their department.

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