Home > Educational Leadership, Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > When the Professor Is Controversial

When the Professor Is Controversial

By Scott Jaschik

The political views of academics should not be used as the bases to hire, fire, promote or demote them. That idea — not terribly disputed — is at the center of draft policies being released today by the American Association of University Professors on how to handle personnel issues involving politically controversial academics.

But even if the AAUP and many of its critics agree on that statement, they are likely to disagree on at least some of the principles put forth by the association. Generally, the draft policies are consistent with past AAUP statements on academic freedom, and the proposals guard the autonomy of faculty members to (generally) say what they want in the classroom and in their non-work lives. “The fundamental principle is that all academic personnel decisions, including new appointments and renewal of appointments, should rest on considerations that demonstrably pertain to the effective performance of the academic’s professional responsibilities,” the report says.

Of course what looks like political intrusion to some could look like appropriate scrutiny to others. The AAUP report — though devoting extensive attention to intrusion from outside the university — states that it can also come from inside academe.

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/02/18/aaup_issues_new_report_and_guidelines_on_handling_
politically_controversial_personnel_issues

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