Academic Integrity and Academic Freedom:
How to Deal with the Fellow-Travelling Professor
The current discussion of the question whether members of the Communist party should be permitted to teach in our schools and colleges has been conducted in such a way that it has eclipsed much more important problems concerning the character and direction of American education. Granted that some administrative measures may be necessary to prevent the process of teaching and learning from being subverted by zealots of undemocratic political faiths. Such administrative measures, however, can never be a substitute for the long-range educational philosophy and strategy that should have as one of its aims the intellectual sophistication which alone gives lasting immunity to infectious myth and dishonest argument.
Even if our schools and colleges were over-night to be liberated from every card-holding member of the Communist party—and formally all Communist party teachers will soon surrender their cards—the fundamental problem will remain of how to meet the challenge to the liberal temper which comes from the exploitation for totalitarian purposes, either deliberately or through misunderstanding, of liberal catch-words and slogans. Here no administrative measures can or should be invoked. Here the struggle can only be waged in the educational arena with educational weapons. This struggle is particularly difficult to conduct, not merely because academic decorum must sometimes be sacrificed in the interests of academic integrity, but because the effective exercise of the critical function, without which education is lifeless, arrays all reactionary groups, irrespective of their labels, against the teacher as honest inquirer and scholar.
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