|Sandra Y. L. Korn, '14, progressivist Borg.|
(Image source WND)
Not in so many words, of course. Her proposal, like Jonathan Swift’s, is modest:
… [The] liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.
In a way, Korn’s argument is refreshing in its near-honesty. We already bias our research output by our funding and publication decisions, is the essence of her reasoning. We already have student activism to make sure conflicting positions are unwelcome here. Why be subtle about suppressing political heresies? Why not make it overt by writing it officially into school policy? I’m only surprised she didn’t suggest “academic justice” be written into Harvard’s hiring, retention and tenure standards.
Which makes me wonder: what are her grades in her history of science courses?