February 6, 2005

ACADEMIC FREEDOM UPDATE: Jim Lindgren has a lengthy post on professor Hans Hoppe of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose story I linked earlier. Lindgren: “As with so many of these stories of supposed academic misconduct, one must be careful not to assume that the whole story has been told, since usually only one side is talking publicly. But if Hoppe indeed said what he says he said and no more, then I think that it is the administrators at UNLV who deserve reprimands. They should have explained to the student that such claims are clearly within academic freedom, whether true or false. I have no doubt that what Hoppe said would be offensive to some students—and indeed, he is probably wrong on the merits of most of his claims—but his claims are empirical ones. The proper response of someone who is angry with Hoppe is to gather evidence tending to show that he is wrong, and to challenge Hoppe to offer his own evidence to support his claims.”

Judging by Hoppe’s online teaching evaluations (a dubious source, I’ll admit) not everyone is offended. Though why students should have a right not to be offended — and why only certain types of “offense” count — is beyond me.

UPDATE: Power Line, meanwhile, features a skeptical email claiming that “academic freedom” is largely illusory these days. And Roger Kimball writes that Ward Churchill is not the problem.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Evidence for the weakness of academic freedom, here: “A graduate student at LeMoyne College has been expelled for writing a paper on his opinion that corporal punishment should be allowed in the classroom. ”

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