AAUP - American Association of University Professors

04/15/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2024 16:26

AAUP President Irene Mulvey: House Committee Interference in Higher Education Must Not Be Tolerated

AAUP President Irene Mulvey: House Committee Interference in Higher Education Must Not Be Tolerated

Ahead of the House Education and Workforce Committee Hearing on April 17 with Columbia University president Minouche Shafikand and two co-chairs of the board of trustees, Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors released the following statement:

Academic freedom, free speech, peaceful protest and associational rights for students and faculty must not be abridged in the name of fighting antisemitism. We reject the false "choice" between promoting a healthy and safe campus culture and promoting free inquiry.

We are witnessing a new strain of McCarthyism in the U.S. where instead of going after Hollywood, it is professors and higher education that are under attack. Like the original McCarthyism, people's lives are being upended, their careers are being ruined, and they are losing their livelihoods based on narratives being pushed to further a political agenda that have no basis in reality.

A democratic society thrives when knowledge production, research, critical thinking, and learning - both inside and outside of the classroom - take place in independent institutions of higher ed that have a great degree of autonomy. Otherwise, you get what we see in totalitarian states: government control of topics that can be discussed in the classroom. Political control of higher education and thought policing is what happens under authoritarianism; this has no place in a free society.

The obligation to protect the safety of students and to promote a healthy campus culture is not at odds with the obligation to ensure a climate promoting academic freedom and freedom of expression. The AAUP unequivocally rejects all efforts to curtail academic freedom and compromise the autonomy of universities and the speech and associational rights of faculty and students through a false choice between "safety" and free inquiry.

Publication Date:
Monday, April 15, 2024