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Academic Freedom- Whose Definition?

Reader comment on item: Profs Who Hate America

Submitted by Barry Shmookler (United States), Nov 12, 2002 at 23:38

Do inhabitants of "Academe" have more (or less) rights for free expression than the non-campus bound citizen? Individuals in both categories may express their opinions, regardless of absurdity, in a public forum. One of Dr. Pipes' points is to examine the source. What is the reliability and credibility of a chemistry or genetics professor who chooses to pontificate on foreign policy and mid east affairs? This does not imply that members of these departments are inherently unbiased and apolitical. If a distinguished professor of economics opined that a certain procedure performed in his/her university's department of neurosurgery was incorrect or inappropriate, does anyone place credibility in such absurdity? In summary, reader (listener) beware.

On a different plane is the incident of the George Washington Univ. professor who allegedly travelled to Iraq to provide aide to the regime regarding the number of citizens necessary to act as an effective human shield (Is there a mathematical formula to determine this number?). This, in a time of war. Is this in the spectrum of academic freedom or does it approach the behavior of certain "enemy combatants?" I wonder what the Attorney General would opine.

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