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April 22, 2005

EUGENE VOLOKH thinks that I, and Vince Carroll, have erred on the subject of academic freedom. I think that Eugene's argument is entirely correct -- but the definition of academic freedom in question was not mine, or Vince Carroll's, but that of the faculty who supported Ward Churchill. That was the point of Carroll's first paragraph:

Remember the proclamation of 29 professors at the University of Denver College of Law denouncing the inquiry into Ward Churchill because "the critique of conventional wisdom, or the accepted way of doing (or seeing) things, is essential to fostering the public debate that is necessary to prevent tyranny"?

While DU was certainly within its rights not to publish the article by Lamm, that action sits uncomfortably with talk of "fostering public debate," especially when it seems clear that his article would normally have been published, and was rejected only because the administration found the ideas unacceptable.