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Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?$
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Akeel Bilgrami and Jonathan Cole

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168809

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168809.001.0001

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Academic Freedom Under Fire

Academic Freedom Under Fire

(p.40) 4 Academic Freedom Under Fire
Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?

Jonathan R. Cole

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the logic and limits of academic freedom using the ideals and logic of the University of Chicago's Kalven committee report as a point of departure. It discusses the nature of the threats against academic freedom and the roles that the university and its faculty ought to play in responding to them, arguing that great universities cannot be created or continue to exist without a vigilant defense of this value. It supports the Kalven committee report's declaration that the best of our universities are by design meant to be unsettling—to be critical of our society's weaknesses, as a source for new, even radical ideas (in all disciplines) that must also meet the test of extreme methodological rigor. The chapter asserts that whenever academic freedom is under fire, we must rise to its defense with courage—and without compromise. We should remember that the proper goal of higher education is enlightenment—not some abstract ideal of “balance”.

Keywords:   academic freedom, Kalven committee report, universities, faculty, University of Chicago, higher education

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