Commentary: Lessons From Early Advocates of Academic Freedom

July 10, 2023 1 min read

Judith Friedlander
Persuasion

Excerpt: This is hardly the first time in the history of American higher education that elected politicians have threatened the autonomy of academic institutions and the future of academic freedom. Nor is it the first time that opposing factions on college and university campuses have battled over the meaning of academic freedom.

What makes the present moment different is the curious nature of these debates: Warring parties today are trying to advance incompatible political agendas in the name of academic freedom and democracy itself, while also distorting the meaning of these hallowed principles in similar ways by trying to silence the ideas of others.

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