My friend David Beito at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa has for some years been waging a lonely battle in the American Historical Association against university speech codes. He has repeatedly raised the incongruity between the AHA’s denunciation of the Patriot Act and its tolerance for the stifling of unpopular speech at colleges and universities. Anyway, he is looking for AHA members to sign on to the following resolution, so that it might be voted on at the organization’s national meeting in January. I don’t know how many historians read this blog, but if you’re out there your support would be much appreciated.
RESOLUTION ON SPEECH CODES AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Whereas, The American Historical Association has already gone on record against the threat to academic freedom posed by the Academic Bill of Rights; and
Whereas, Free and open discourse is essential to the success of research and learning on campus; and
Whereas, Administrators and others have used campus speech codes and associated non-academic criteria to improperly restrict faculty choices on curriculum, course content, and personnel decisions; and
Whereas, Administrators and others have also used speech codes to restrict free and open discourse for students and faculty alike through such methods as "free speech zones" and censorship of campus publications; therefore be it
Resolved, The American Historical Association opposes the use of speech codes to restrict academic freedom.
To give your support, e-mail David Beito, ccing your message to Sharon Tune at the AHA, indicating your intent to sign, affirming that you are a paid-up member of the organization, and indicating your institutional affiliation.