College of DuPage v Academic Freedom

The College of DuPage has once again demonstrated a perverse notion of academic freedom. The Chicagoland community college which has had a tumultuous period of presidents coming and going and board members litigating against each other is greatly influenced by David Horowitz’s, Academic Bill of Rights. The board chair, who is suing prior members for alleged defamation concerning charges of sexual harassment, is attempting to influence what is taught in the classroom and which guests can be invited to speak on campus. One should be deeply concerned about the proposed actions by the College of DuPage Board of Trustees.

It appears to be an explicit violation of the principles of shared governance and academic freedom. It is obvious that efforts to restrict both instructional and student choices are contrary to the basic idea of what an institution of higher learning should stand for: namely the search for truth.

The American Association of University Professors has addressed the grave consequences of adopting the A.B.O.R. in terms of academic freedom, governmental intrusion into higher education and shared governance.

Governing boards need to exercise restraint in imposing their ideological views on faculty and students. They certainly have a role to play in the life of an institution and should do more than merely identify financial sources of support. Yet so many governing boards are unaware of what higher education needs to remain vital and creative. Many board members come from the business community and are not versed in the ongoing issues of higher education. Frequently presidents, who either appoint the board or are utterly subservient to them, rarely clash with or challenge board actions that could eviscerate the quality of education on their campuses. Of course at the College of DuPage presidents don’t last too long and leave under unusual circumstances so it is the duty of the public to support and assist those forces on campus who object to the A.B.O.R. being used as the fundamental guiding document of the community college.
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