March Update from the Academic Freedom Alliance
Marking our Two Year Anniversary
March 8th marked two years since the launch of the Academic Freedom Alliance. We’ve grown our membership and expanded our outreach and involvement in myriad ways.
While the AFA has sent more than 25 public letters to colleges and universities and engaged on a variety of public cases, we are also regularly active in matters that are not public knowledge, providing legal assistance and other support to faculty under fire. This past month, we assisted in one case that came to a satisfactory conclusion and remain actively involved in four more.
As we enter our third year, we look forward to continuing to grow and fight for freedom of speech, inquiry, and expression on campuses nationwide. Thank you for being a part of our mission.
Newest Addition to our Interview Series
This month, we released a new interview with Professor Jeffrey Flier, M.D., the Higginson Professor of Medicine and Physiology at Harvard Medical School. AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy recently interviewed the esteemed medical scholar to get his thoughts about the AFA and current academic freedom concerns in schools of medicine.
“A worrying trend is the interposition of a gatekeeping function linked to politics and ideology carried out by officials within and external to the academy,” said Professor Flier. “One recent example involves problems related to COVID-19 research. Issues such as, for example, the benefits of mask mandates in specific settings and for specific ages, and the benefits and harms of prolonged school closures, became rapidly politicized. As a consequence, the views of many scientists on these issues appeared to be more closely linked to the perceived political valence of the issues than to the underlying science.”
Shining a Light on Similar Organizations
This month, we continued to build out the Spotlight page of our website, which is dedicated to highlighting other groups around the country that defend academic freedom. This month we featured Free Speech For Campus, a Wisconsin-based grassroots movement that brings together concerned citizens to promote and protect free speech and due process rights on Wisconsin’s college campuses, which have been named among the worst in the nation for free speech rights. FSFC’s vision is to provide a state-wide network of advocates who can offer moral support, provide financial assistance, drive media attention, and help coordinate legal representation for students and faculty members under attack for their speech.
We added 20 new members in the past month for a total of 752 members. We continue to accept new members on a rolling basis. As always, please send any nominations to AFA Director of Operations Howard Muncy at firstname.lastname@example.org.