Academic Avenger No. 9: Civilidy!

Play nice!

Academic Avenger

Today’s adventure was inspired by the current debate about “civility” and academic freedom, including but not limited to

  • the decision by Chancellor Phyllis Wise at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to revoke a written job offer of a tenured professorship made to Steven G. Salaita, whose comments on Twitter regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza she judged insufficiently civil (the job offer later moved forward to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, where it was rejected by a vote of 8-1)
  • the e-mail by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks at the University of California at Berkeley to faculty, staff and students to mark the 50th anniversary of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement noting that civility is a prerequisite for free speech

For a little historical perspective on the matter, I also recommend Matthew Bunn’s article “Civility and Speech in the Modern University, 200 Years Ago in Germany

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