Collateral Damage: Faculty Free Speech in America After 9/11
by Patricia Somers & Susan B. Somers-Willett — August 01, 2002
Historically, in times of national crisis, political dissent has been stifled. In the wake of September 11, faculty members across the country have been involved in conflicts with campus administrators and the public over freedom of expression. This article explores the changing terrain of academic freedom in the post-9/11 U.S. by examining three critical cases in which the extramural free speech rights of faculty members have been threatened. In all cases, university officials punished employees who voiced “unpopular” or “unpatriotic” sentiments which led to potential problems with donors, corporate partners, and consumers of the university. Given that more and more universities are adopting corporate models, these cases indicate a disturbing trend of favoring profit margins over academic freedom. We conclude that the current incursions will be challenged only through collective action by academic unions, faculty senates, and cultural workers.
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