Academic Freedom Information Site

In February 2005 members of the Santa Rosa Junior College Republican club placed a flyer at 10 Santa Rosa Junior College instructors' -- including my -- offices. Underneath a bright red star, the flyer quoted California Education Code 51530, which prohibits “the advocacy or teaching of communism with the intent of indoctrinating or inculcating a preference in the mind of any pupil for such doctrine.” The code defines communism as “the political theory that the presently existing form of government of the United States or of this state should be changed, by force, violence, or other unconstitutional means, to a totalitarian dictatorship which is based on the principles of communism as expounded by Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.” A few days later a club press release claimed "We did this because we believe certain instructors at SRJC are in violation of California state law." A couple days later, the club's president admitted they had "no specific complaints, no threats or specific accusations."

This incident -- which a California College Republicans' press release called Operation Red Scare -- was followed by campus debate, media coverage, and a published editorial by California Republican State Senator, Rob Morrow, who claimed he authored a bill to address the fact that, "in some cases, our public campuses are morphing into hotbeds of incivility, intolerance, lack of intellectual diversity, harrassment, intimidation, and breach of contract" and a "growing number [of faculty] run their classrooms as if managing little Abu Graibs."

Such events challenge us to reflect upon the nature of Academic Freedom, Academic Bias, and the relationship between the two. I'm placing this resource online because 1- these issues, the events currently raising them, and their potential effects on educational institutions, are newsworthy, 2- I hope this resource encourages better understanding of these newsworthy issues, and 3- I hope students and educators find this a helpful class resource:

What was 'Operation Red Scare'?

College and University Policies and Procedures

Documents on Academic Freedom, Academic Bias, and Legislating Pedagogy

Alleged Cases Academic Bias

News Coverage of Academic Freedom, Academic Bias, and Legislating Pedagogy

Commentary on Academic Freedom, Academic Bias, and Legislating Pedagogy


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