To the Editor:
Public and private universities have a history of academic freedom. Students and professors should have the opportunity to exchange a variety of viewpoints without censorship or fear of job loss. As John Stuart Mill aptly indicated those who censor are assuming the stance of infallibility.
All ideas need full expression in the pursuit of truth, even the ideas of Ayn Rand. It is true that some administrators and boards of trustees have used their power to fire some leftist professors, however, this is an illegitimate use of power. A university does not represent one viewpoint, but rather a multitude of perspectives. Even catholic universities, like Fairfield and Holy Cross, have leftist professors that support abortion and birth control.
Leftist students and professors are a very small minority at our universities. Their views are basically excluded from the mass media and universities are one of the few places where they can be heard.
Although some leftists have made unlikely claims (Sept. 11 conspiracies), their outlook has had some validity (opposition to the Vietnam War). Onkar Gate confuses the initial hiring of a professor with continuing appointment.
A university is not required to hire anybody unless there is a violation of discrimination law. However, once a professor is hired academic freedom rules. Some professors found it difficult criticizing Bush’s policies on combating terrorism given the horrific events of Sept. 11. People were waving flags and it was considered unpatriotic to criticize the invasion of Afghanistan. Even Bush set up a false dilemma argument that you either for us or against us. The Texas professor should be congratulated for having the courage to express his beliefs.
Gate needs to listen to what leftists are saying. Historically, their claims have sometimes been true.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy