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Defending Academic Freedom at CUNY SPH: University Faculty Senate Statement

posted May 4, 2017, 7:34 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Jun 3, 2017, 9:54 PM by Jay Weiser ]
Press release: 
CUNY University Faculty Senate in Defense of Academic Freedom 
May 1, 2017 

We, the undersigned members of the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate at the City University of New York (CUNY) defend the School of Public Health’s invitation to Ms. Linda Sarsour and the right to deliver her commencement address. As in previous controversies, we take no position on Ms. Sarsour’s views. We strongly endorse the tradition that CUNY, and all universities, should be a forum for free discussion of all viewpoints, consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, the principles of academic freedom, and CUNY’s own Academic Freedom Policy.

We must resist external pressure to disinvite speakers at any institution of higher learning. For the cornerstone of higher education is the maintenance of free inquiry, which entails the sharing of different viewpoints, a tolerance for diversity, and a sensitivity to the values of a humane and civilized culture – namely sustained social and community engagement. Rigorous, thoughtful debate – in the tradition of a great university – is the best answer, not censorship.

Katherine Conway, Chair
Kathleen Barker, Vice-Chair

Members-At-Large
Michael Barnhart
Martin J. Burke
Hugo Fernandez
Karen Kaplowitz
Philip Pecorino
Emily Tai
Jay Weiser

Terrence Martell, Ex Officio

For further information, contact the Executive Director of the City University Faculty Senate, Dr. Matthew J. Cotter, at Matthew.Cotter@cuny.edu or 646-664-9032 or 646-664-9035

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Image credit: Nick Youngson, The First AmendmentCreative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0