Academic Freedom Not Yet Safe at the University of Michigan
The University of Michigan opened this academic year with an academic freedom scandal. Music professor Bright Sheng showed his class the 1965 film of Othello with Laurence Olivier playing the Moor in dark makeup. Students demanded action. The university removed Sheng from the classroom and opened an investigation. The Academic Freedom Alliance condemned the university for violating Professor Sheng’s academic freedom. The university eventually relented and dropped the investigation. Unfortunately, that is not quite the end of the matter.
Professor Sheng has not been returned to his class, though he continues to do some teaching and is scheduled to resume his normal teaching activities in the spring. The university has hardly recognized its error and has failed to adequately reaffirm its commitments to academic freedom. Not exactly an encouraging sign for the future.
And now some members of the faculty who were enthusiastic about the persecution of Professor Sheng in the first place are doubling down. An open letter tries to rewrite history and denies that the Sheng case ever involved a conflict over free speech or academic freedom. More troubling, it calls for the university to mandate “anti-racism training” for all the members of the faculty so that professors will know what they are allowed to teach students in the future. Everyone must think the same way at the University of Michigan. The letter demonstrates that advocates of “anti-racism practices” in universities have no tolerance for intellectual freedom and will brook no dissent.
The AFA responds with another letter to the univ
Article from Reason.com