As Trump administration draws closer, faculty step up defense of civility
- Professors from the University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are a part of a growing cadre of academics calling for a renewed focus upon civility and freedom in learning.
- Toronto Professor Rachel Barney has developed a 10-point code of ethics, calling upon professors and campus leaders to reject increased calls for limiting safe space, increased surveillance, export of international students, and fairness in the learning environment — and more than 400 MIT professors have signed an agreement to preserve diversity and inclusion efforts on campus.
- Professors at both schools have targeted the executive appointment of Stephen Bannon as a sign of the administration's dismissal of academic freedom.
Like most issues relative to personal politics and culture, what is imminently dangerous to one person is heroic and necessary to another. This is evident in places like the University of Chicago, where a student affairs executive can take the deliberate step of denouncing safe space behind the cover of academic freedom — an ideal that that for some means the flexibility to share separatist views, and for others, sharing the idea of how harmful these views can be.
There is no easy solution for higher education officials to prevent or control the reaction if and when these controversies occur. The best approach is to be active and aggressive in promoting campus tolerance, metrics of civility and administrative ideas about what both things look like.
- Inside Higher Ed Values for the Trump era
- Education Dive University of Chicago leaders rail against safe spaces
- Education Dive American U students call for academic trigger warnings