Faculty foxes guarding the campus henhouse

There is a new organization being heralded as a champion of free speech that instead is a potentially dangerous group that may help further entrench and defend academic negligence.

The Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) is “dedicated to protecting the rights of faculty members at colleges and universities to speak, instruct, and publish without fear of sanction or punishment … to design courses and conduct classes using reasonable pedagogical judgment; and their right to be unburdened by ideological tests, affirmations, and oaths.”

Put another way, the goal is to ensure faculty are unaccountable.

Professors have arrogated for themselves a unique right that others do not have. “Academic freedom” was not ordained by god or enshrined in the Constitution (though the Supreme Court has said it is a “special concern of the First Amendment). The professorate invented it to pursue knowledge without interference from their government, colleagues, bosses, taxpayers or students.

While it once may have been a reasonable way to insulate scholars from interference in the free inquiry of ideas, it has been perverted and turned into a shield to defend academic malpractice. Practically, it has become a license to preach personal views, advance arguments unsupported by evidence and to use institutional prestige to gain credibility for ideas that may have no merit.

The AFA website says, “what we defend is our members’ right to state what they believe to be true.”

What they “believe,” not what they can demonstrate through research?

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