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17-07-2022 | Featured Interview

“The University Is Not a Public Square”: An Interview with Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth About It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom

Authors: Michael Bérubé, Jennifer Ruth

Published in: Society

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Excerpt

In their book, It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022), Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth argue that we need to combat the proliferation of racism by invigorating the idea of academic freedom as a responsibility and not only a right akin to free speech. The authors deploy critical race theory to highlight the pervasiveness of bigotry in the American university. However, they combine theoretical ideas with an intimate knowledge of many specific controversies about academic freedom, including the cases of Amy Wax (co-author of an op-ed praising “bourgeois culture”), Bruce Gilley (author of an article, “The Case for Colonialism”), and Joy Karega (who posted inflammatory anti-Israel and antisemitic statements on social media). Having served on important committees in the American Association of University Professors, Bérubé and Ruth are champions of academic freedom, but they also seek to redefine it, to move it away from the libertarian meaning it has acquired since the 1960s. …
Footnotes
1
“General Report of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure,” Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, vol. 1, no. 1 (Dec. 1915), 33
 
2
Ulrich Baer, What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, and Equality on Campus (Oxford UP, 2019), p. 117
 
3
Eva Cherniavsky, “Against the Common Sense: Academic Freedom as a Collective Right,” AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom 12 (2021). https://​www.​aaup.​org/​sites/​default/​files/​Cherniavsky-.​pdf
 
4
Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth, “When Professors’ Speech is Disqualifying,” The New Republic, April 2022, p. 45. https://​newrepublic.​com/​article/​165649/​professors-speech-disqualifying
 
5
See Jeffrey Aaron Snyder, “What Are the Limits of Academic Freedom?” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 5, 2022. https://​www.​chronicle.​com/​article/​what-are-the-limits-of-academic-freedom? and Jonathan Marks, “Do We Really Need to Rethink Academic Freedom?” The Bulwark, May 13, 2022. https://​www.​thebulwark.​com/​do-we-really-need-to-rethink-academic-freedom/​
 
6
Henry Reichman, “Academic Freedom and the Common Good: A Review Essay,” AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom 7 (2016). https://​www.​aaup.​org/​sites/​default/​files/​Reichman_​1.​pdf
 
7
Isaac Chotiner, “A Penn Law Professor Wants to Make America White Again,” The New Yorker, August 29, 2019. https://​www.​newyorker.​com/​news/​q-and-a/​a-penn-law-professor-wants-to-make-america-white-again
 
8
"On Issues of Academic Freedom in Studies Linking Intelligence and Race," AAUP Bulletin, vol. 60, no. 2 (June, 1974), 153; the AAUP first issued the statement in Feb., 1974).
 
9
American Association of University Professors, “On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes,” Policy Documents and Reports, 11th ed. (Johns Hopkins UP, 2015), 361-62. https://​www.​aaup.​org/​report/​freedom-expression-and-campus-speech-codes
 
10
See L.S. Hearnshaw, Cyril Burt, Psychologist (Cornell UP, 1979), and Stephen Jay Gould, “Jensen’s Last Stand,” New York Review of Books, May 1, 1980. https://​www.​nybooks.​com/​articles/​1980/​05/​01/​jensens-last-stand/​
 
Metadata
Title
“The University Is Not a Public Square”: An Interview with Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth About It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom
Authors
Michael Bérubé
Jennifer Ruth
Publication date
17-07-2022
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Society
Print ISSN: 0147-2011
Electronic ISSN: 1936-4725
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-022-00744-6