Saturday, November 3, 2007

Desperately Seeking Susan; or, Ms. O'Malley's Misadventures in the Cause of Academic Freedom

From the enchanted groves of the AAUP's Academe, Mar/Apr 2005
by Jordan E. Kurland

"The theme of the 2004 fall conference of the City University of New York's University Faculty Senate, held on December 3 at Hunter College, was "Defining and Defending Academic Freedom." The conference program, arranged by faculty senate chair Susan O'Malley, featured several AAUP experts on academic freedom, including past and present chairs of the Association's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. University of Virginia law professor Robert O'Neil, who is also director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, a former Committee A chair, and the current chair of the AAUP's Special Committee on Academic Freedom and National Security in a Time of Crisis, reviewed post-September 11 threats to academic freedom in specific incidents on campuses and in new federal and state laws and regulations. University of Illinois law professor Matthew Finkin, also a former Committee A chair and chair of the committee that investigated the recent case of CUNY adjunct instructor Mohamed Yousry, discussed that case in the context of previous AAUP investigations involving CUNY and of broader issues of academic freedom and due process affecting adjunct CUNY faculty. The investigating committee's report appeared in the November-December 2004 issue of Academe. Historian Joan Wallach Scott of the Institute for Advanced Study, who is currently Committee A chair, led one of several conference workshops and spoke briefly about academic freedom problems now facing the country in general and CUNY in particular. The AAUP's associate general secretary Jordan Kurland also led a workshop. City College historian Stephen Leberstein, a Committee A member, provided a digital presentation of an exhibit, "The Struggle for Free Speech and Academic Freedom at CCNY, 1931-42," that was on view at City College in the fall and was scheduled for showing at the Graduate Center in February and March."

It appears that Professors O'Malley and Scott would like to give a new meaning to "A-type personalities." Making the academy safe for Mohammed Yousry certainly seemed to be front and center in O'Malley's mind. Quite the strange poster boy for progressive academics!

No comments: