Academic freedom Post author By Kevin O’Rourke Post date March 5, 2010 This is a truly dreadful story which should concern all academics (HT 9th Level Ireland). Categories In Higher education 17 Comments on Academic freedom ← The U.S. and Irish Credit Crises: Their Distinctive Differences and Common Features → Empty Houses 17 replies on “Academic freedom” Me thinks the lady doth protest too much! Dissension with the senate rather than barbarians at the gate. Surely, this will sort it self out. Al Can’t possibly, under any circumstances, see a French Court – even for a Sorbonne graduate – supporting such a case to the slightest extent. Hell hath no greater fury … etc The Left Bank will have a field day ………… It does seem to be a bit of a storm in an academic tea cup. “Dear Dr. Calvo-Goller (Dear Karin) Thank you for your letter of June 12th. Since we have known each other for many years and have been friends I would like first to make some personal comments.” Weiler’s response seems, to a non-lawyer, very considered. “You will also, of course, understand that publication of a book review, negative or positive, does not mean that the Editor agrees, one way or another, with the review in question. One does not read all the books that come in for review and inevitably one relies on academic citizenship and self policing for the integrity of the enterprise, otherwise, again, book reviewing, so central to academia and the profession would not be sustainable. It is a very extreme request to ask for a critical review to be removed. I could imagine acceding to such a request only in most egregious circumstances of, say, bad faith, conflict of interest etc.” I think Calvo-Goller will drop the case and if not will lose. I should be less glib. Surely Academic Freedom isnt something that the world owes to academics. Rather it is something that the Academic owes the world and would value more than potential consequences of truth telling, also known as parrhesia. Such parrhesia has been witnessed in this country on nama etc. IMO, the situation is low on the richter scale. Academics in other parts the world have to worry about much worse. The Gentleman in question is of course being tested, and should be supported, but being tested, but is this dreadful in itself? Al @Kevin O’Rourke Academic freedom and press freedom need to be cherished. I can’t help feeling the the investigations into The Irish Times and now into The Evening Herald give the establishment an axe to wave over the heads of the press. The longer the investigation drags on the more control they can maintain. “It may cause harm to my professional reputation and academic promotion.” Damn right it should, for seeking to censor a critical review. Affligeant et pathétique! The saddest part about this is the amount of money that will be wasted that could otherwise have gone towards academic pursuits. Juvenile on the part of the academic. @Kevin Thanks for that. Have you responded to Prof Joe Weiler’s request for assistance? Are you organising others eg. IFUT to provide the kind of assistance he sought? This is the review in question it seems http://www.globallawbooks.org/reviews/detail.asp?id=298 @Donal: yes, as a former editor of the European Review of Econnomic History I sent a message of support as requested. I have also let a few colleagues know about it, since economic history has produced some particularly snarky book reviews in recent history, and these might usefully be added to the dossier. @Ciarán Ta for that. I’ve had worse meself in high infants. I’ve written far tougher on the work of high adults. One of the casualties in the depression before this was free speech and this is becoming more obvious this time around. It ia also more important that latitude be reasonably given in view of the WWW. Thank God we got rid of the law of blasphemy! @Pat Donnelly – “Thank God we got rid of the law of blasphemy” Er, we didn’t. You’re nicked. Anything you say will be…… It shows the lack of importance given to the basic principle of freedom of speech in many European countries, including this one. Truly shocking. Popular-science author Simon Singh was sued by the British Association of Chiropractors for being critical of their claims from a scientific perspective in a newspaper commentary article. A quite idiotic ruling from a judge helped his tormentors. Singh is being forced to raise a six-figure sum to defend himself. http://skepticblog.org/2009/05/11/simon-singhs-libel-suit/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/jul/29/simon-singh-science-chiropractic-litigation http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/03/university-of-california-campus-erupts.html The concept of a University and Academe in general, will be put under the microscope. The first ones with a new cheaper model will get the funds. I recall a few blowhards wanting US methods etc to e applied to the third level sector. Anyone want to fess up? A well-educated TCD colleague has pointed me to the following historical precedent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_McNeill_Whistler#Ruskin_trial Comments are closed.