Academic Freedom Alliance Letter to the University of Rochester
The Academic Freedom Alliance has released a public letter to the University of Rochester objecting to the treatment of an English professor there. Professor David Bleich has long taught classes dealing with sensitive subjects in race and gender. Those courses include readings that make use of offensive language. As is often the case, the details of the assigned texts need to be discussed in class and the texts need to be read aloud and quoted accurately in order to facilitate that careful analysis. Such conversations can sometimes be difficult but they are at the heart of what it takes to do college-level work in literary criticism and analysis.
This semester, Professor Bleich is teaching a class on Gender and Anger. He read aloud from a short story that had been assigned to the class. The portion of the text he read included the n-word. Students objected, and there was a vigorous conversation about the use of the word. In a subsequent class, Professor Bleich read to the students a section of Harvard Law School Professor Randall Kennedy‘s Chronicle of Higher Education article on the use of the n-word in classroom settings.
The university responded by suspending him from teaching his class and putting in place various restrictive conditions that must be satisfied before he would be allowed to resume teaching. The university is taking the position that it is never appropriate for a professor to say the n-word aloud in a college class.
This issue has become a common one at un
Article from Reason.com