The Daily Illini

Editorial: Embarrassingly public doubt of our academic freedom

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

The University is currently on a fairly embarrassing list for academic freedom when compared to other higher education institutions.

On June 13, the American Association of University Professors voted to censure the University. Although students might be unaware of how grave this is and show indifference to our placement, being on the list of censured schools brands the University with scar marks representing a tumultuous past few years.

Founded in 1915, the AAUP has worked toward preserving the standards and procedures of quality education and academic freedom in universities, according to the association’s website.

The censure list is published to inform the public, universities and association members of the violations of academic freedom and tenure that have occurred at universities across the country. The AAUP stresses that censure is not placed on faculty members or the institution as a whole, but only on the administration, including the officers and governing board.

The University joins other institutions, such as Grove City College, which has been on the list the longest — since 1963. The University is currently the only Big Ten institution on the list.

Although the list doesn’t affect the University in any physical or legal way, it changes the atmosphere of higher education and the way professionals view the University. It also impacts future students.

Students and parents might not be aware of the censure list, but future faculty members definitely are. Both well-known, highly-esteemed and ordinary faculty look toward the AAUP for guidance, according to the website.

If the administration cares at all about the students of the University, they should be working as hard as possible to get off this list. Future University students deserve the best and brightest faculty and by remaining on the censure list, we are putting ourselves in a damning situation with the potential to harm the academics we value so strongly. If the University is to continue to be a top educator, this needs to be fixed.

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