Does the AAUP Uphold Academic Freedom for All, or Just for Some?
Where was the American Association of University Professors when Richard Dawkins led an unruly internet mob to get Ben Stein's invitation to speak at the University of Vermont rescinded? They were stone cold silent as Stein was kicked to the curb by UV president Daniel Fogel, at the behest of Dawkins and other intolerant Darwinsts.
Now the AAUP has the nerve to issue a statement warning schools not to rescind invitations to outside speakers. General Secretary Gary Rhoades writes:
The opportunity to be confronted with diverse opinions is at the core of academic freedom, which is vital to a free society and a quality education. The AAUP will continue to work to ensure such academic freedom.Somehow, I doubt it. They didn't defend Stein, but now they are defending Dawkins' right to speak at universities -- which we did as well.
I e-mailed Mr. Rhoades
to see what he had to say (as you'll see below, I think I already know what he'll say).
Mr. Rhoades, I applaud the AAUP's statement supporting academic freedom for outside speakers on university campuses. Earlier this year, Ben Stein was uninvited from delivering the commencement address at the University of Vermont. In fact, one of the people you defended in your statement today, Richard Dawkins, wrote a letter to the UV president condemning the decision to invite Stein. AAUP is absolutely correct to defend Dawkins' right to be invited and speak at universities. In fact, we denounced as censorship attempts to have him expelled from speaking at Oklahoma University earlier this year. While there was a controversy about Dawkins, he was NOT uninvited, nor was his event canceled. Ben Stein though was definitely the victim of censorship, ironically at the hands of someone you are defending.
Your statement claims: The opportunity to be confronted with diverse opinions is at the core of academic freedom, which is vital to a free society and a quality education. The AAUP will continue to work to ensure such academic freedom.
What is the AAUP's position on what happened to Stein? I'd like to know if you will update your list of recent speakers being censored to include Stein?
In his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, Jonathan Wells wrote:
Apparently, however, academic freedom doesn't extend to critics of Darwinism. When University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill called victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 "little Eichmanns," the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) defended his academic freedom, reaffirming the AAUP's commitment "to preserving and advancing principles of academic freedom in this nation's colleges and universities. Freedom of faculty members to express views, however unpopular or distasteful, is an essential condition of an institution of higher learning that is truly free." But when word of President White's edict reached Jonathan Knight, director of the AAUP's Office of Academic Freedom, Knight said: "Academic freedom is not a license to teach anything you like."  In the Orwellian thinking of the AAUP, all unpopular views are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Defenders of President White's edict pointed to a "consensus" of scientists that intelligent design is wrong. But how could there be a "consensus" if qualified scientists such as Minnich and Behe are excluded from voting? This sounds suspiciously like those "unanimous" elections for which the former Soviet Union became notorious. Just as truth could not be decided by the Communist Party in Moscow, Russia, so it cannot be decided by the Darwinist Party in Moscow, Idaho.
 "AAUP Statement on Professor Ward Churchill Controversy," American Association of University Professors, February 3, 2005. Available online (April 2006) at
John Miller, "U of I President: Teach Only Evolution in Science Classes," Associated Press, October 6, 2005. Available online (April 2006) at http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&program=CSC%20-%20Views%20and%20News&id=2922