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Academic Freedom and Communist Teachers:
Critique of a Report

- Abstract

The American Association of University Professors, an organization with about 37,000 members, recently adopted a Teport on “Academic Freedom and Tenure in the Quest for National Security” in the course of which it was said: “We cannot accept an educational system that is subject to the irresponsible push and pull of contemporary controversies.”

The priggishness of this academic aloofness from “contemporary controversies” recalls Pliny the Younger’s irritation at being interrupted in his reading of Livy’s histories by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. But subjection to “irresponsible” push and pull is quite another matter. The professors are clearly justified in demanding an attitude of responsibility from the university administrations, just as those administrations, and the community as a whole, are justified in expecting that university professors and their Association will take responsible positions on matters of controversy, contemporary and otherwise.

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