Must Reading for the 4 Barnacles of the Apocalypse and Other Colleagues

I am recommending the New York Times’ Stanley Fish February 16 column, Is the Academy Different? for the benefit of the 4 Barnacles of the Apocalypse* and other colleagues confused about tenets and canons of Academic Freedom.

Okay, I admit that this is tongue in cheek because I know everyone reads the Times and don’t need me to post a notice that would infer that they are not up on all the news fit to print. But based on my many talks and consultations about Academic Freedom and First Amendment rights with reps from the Professional Staff Congress, the AAUP, the New York Civil Liberties Union, PEN, Committee to Protect Journalists,  National Writers Union,  which has supported me through two subpeonas and a job action, and others (there are always others), I can understand colleagues’ confusion.

I had originally planned to post this information on the Hunter College Listserv, Hunter-L, but paused because I wanted to see if any colleagues in or out of my Department of Film and Media studies would start the thread. AF is a big topic at Hunter, a big topic inspired especially by one of my colleagues, Stuart Ewen, a former department chair. However, after waiting and waiting and with nothing happening, I decided to publish here.

So, I’m suggesting Fish’s column as a contribution to the ongoing discussion and sometimes slugfest because too many colleagues, I believe, in and out of my department, regard Academic Freedom as a special gratuity for the brahman in an Academic caste system. In my effort to help colleagues, and myself too, of course, I’m also reviewing, Challenging Racism in Higher Education: Promoting Justice – by Mark Chesler; Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities by Christin A. Stanley; and Faculty Incivility: The Rise of the Academic Bully Culture and What to Do About It by Darla J. Twale.

And, yes, I believe Academic Freedom slugfests involve the kind of flaws that degrade students’ learning opportunities. That I know from first-hand experience.

The 4 Barnacles of the Apocalypse? The the nom de plume for four colleagues accused of violating tenets and canons of Academic Freedom and Academic Collegiality. Many instructors log anecdotes about students who didn’t want to study and didn’t want to come to class but wanted A’s, nevertheless. Well, the 4 Barnacles are the colleagues who encouraged that kind of lethargy.

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