Dark Cloud Over Academic Freedom

“Recently, the Education Department issued a controversial ‘blueprint’ for dealing with sexual harassment that could expose colleges that follow it to First Amendment lawsuits and redefine every flirtation and request to go out on a date as potential sexual harassment. It rejects decades of court rulings by declaring that any unwelcome speech or conduct of a sexual nature is harassment, even if it would not offend a reasonable person.

“By defining speech as reportable ‘sexual harassment’ even when it does not offend a reasonable person, the Education Department has cast a dark cloud over academic freedom and the ability to debate important issues about sexual morality, norms, and roles that may offend some listeners.” Read the full article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Library provides access to The Chronicle of Higher Education to all USF faculty, staff, and students.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the No. 1 source of news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty members and administrators. The Chronicle is a nine-time finalist for the National Magazine Awards, and one of its columnists was a finalist for a 2005 Pulitzer Prize. The Chronicle has also received honors from the Education Writers Association, the Society of News Design, the EPpy Awards, and the Webby Awards, among others. In 2007 The Chronicle was ranked in the 10 most credible news sources by Erdos & Morgan, a widely used survey of thought leaders in the United States. The Utne Reader that year named The Chronicle for “best political coverage” among independent newspapers.

2 thoughts on “Dark Cloud Over Academic Freedom”

  1. I do think the Chron. of Hgh’r Ed. goes too far. 1) on unwelcome advances, do people ask strangers out on dates, other than online? I doubt it. So, if you ask someone who has shown no interest in you out, you;re are mildly harassing; 2) I am bothered by the “any reasonable person” phrase, since historically women in general have been considered unreasonable if they do anything other than breathe; 3) to object to humor meant to teach ought to be not taken seriously. People need to become less prickly and more able to express their grievance directly w/ the offender. We have become a tattle tale society. Grow up.

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