This update by our colleagues at UIUC is worth sharing.
Chancellor Wise broke her long silence on the Salaita case by launching a frontal assault on academic freedom and shared governance. Her campus massmail of August 22 seems perfectly reasonable at first reading – this campus is generally a friendly and cordial place, and who would want to change that? – but what she actually asserts is alarming:
“What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them.”
Universities exist in order to investigate, challenge, and (when necessary) “demean and abuse” viewpoints. But the Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will not tolerate the utterance of words that demean “viewpoints” if, in her sole judgment, those words are “personal and disrespectful.” We are presumably now forbidden, for example, from bluntly disparaging the viewpoints of creationism or homophobia on this campus.
This newly-invented civility test has been…
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