So much for Academic Freedom!

In American universities and colleges, there are 11 1/2 democrat faculty members for every 1 republican faculty member, as found in a study by Econ Journal and reported by the Washington Times in 2016. The ratio has become more dramatic in the last 15-20 years as colleges and university continue to push liberal dogma and research.

Dr. Scott Atlas is a Hoover Institution senior fellow, a faculty member at Stanford University, and a special assistant to President Donald Trump for coronavirus issues. He has openly questioned mask mandates from his perspective as a health policy scholar, medical scientist and doctor.

Stanford University convened its Faculty Senate to address complaints about Dr. Atlas. After their meeting, they made the decision to formally condemn Dr. Atlas’ actions regarding Covid-19. Evidently 85% of the group voted to condemn and posted an explanation of their decision on the Stanford University website. Considering that ratio of 11 1/2 to 1, 85% is hardly the mandate one could expect from an all-liberal group of academics. Essentially, only a portion of them didn’t like his viewpoint and were insulted by the manner in which he communicated that perspective.

Dr. Atlas responded to this condemnation in a public statement which can be found posted in The Stanford Review. In it, he says, “I have always used science and factual evidence to help generate the best possible policies to save lives. My views in favor of the careful protection of our nation’s most vulnerable while safely re-opening society are far from contrary to science. These views are held by some of the world’s top epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford itself, as well as by thousands of medical and public health scientists from around the world.” But none of that matters to the faculty senate because his views do not match with those supported by the MSM and the left-leaning political narrative.

Marxism and Socialism are political philosophies which focus on an authoritarian approach to equalizing citizens. In those political landscapes, one of the first groups of individuals to be targeted is the intelligentsia – as the group of individuals who are most likely to question or have conflict with the State narrative. Anyone who does not agree with the mainstream thinking (in this case mask-wearing and Covid-19 lockdowns) can be systematically eliminated, by censorship or worse. The Stanford faculty senate would do well to realize that by infringing on Dr. Atlas’ academic freedoms, they are setting the stage for the day when their own views may become the target of whatever the ruling class is at that moment in history. By condemning Atlas, they have effectively condemned themselves.

Academic Freedom is a kind of Freedom of Speech commitment on the part of institutions of higher learning. Without that freedom, professors are not as likely to push the boundaries of scholarly research, investigation, and education. It is one of the reasons that the tenure systems exists, so that the pursuit of knowledge which often comes with conflicting and dissenting opinions does not lead to job termination and censorship.

Ben Domenech, writer and publisher (The Federalist) said, “It is no accident that the place that lends itself to creating conflicts between the dominant order of thought and people who want to speak their minds freely is the college campus, where conservatives feel outnumbered and crushed by a system of higher education that believes in academic freedom for me, not for thee.”

(photo by Jean Carlo Emer on Unsplash.)

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