Academic freedom

The Real Scandal at Illinois?

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If you want to study Buddhist or Methodist or Jewish thought at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, there are relevant courses in religious studies -- courses where the instructors have been selected by a department of scholars, through standard academic procedures.

But if you want to study Roman Catholicism, your instructors have been through different vetting -- they will have been nominated by (and their salaries paid by) the St. John's Catholic Newman Center, a church organization independent of the university, set up to serve Catholic students at the university.

Oil Debate Spills Into Academe

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Within three days of the BP oil spill, Joe Griffit was out in the Gulf of Mexico taking water samples to begin assessing the damage. As an assistant professor of coastal sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi, Griffit says he’s been eager to assist in the restoration efforts taking shape in the region. So when lawyers representing BP came to Griffit with an offer -- help us assess the damage and find a way to restore what’s been destroyed -- Griffit says the option was “initially very attractive” to him and some of his colleagues.

Law School Tenure in Danger?

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The American Bar Association is moving ahead with changes in its accreditation system that faculty members fear could erode tenure protections for many professors and further weaken job security for clinical faculty members, many of whom don't have tenure to start with.

The New Clash of Rights

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A month ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a dispute involving the right of public universities to enforce anti-bias rules as a requirement for recognition of student organizations. The university's rules were upheld, dealing a blow to Christian student groups who argued that they should be protected by the First Amendment to receive recognition and to bar gay people.

A Separation and a Return

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced Thursday that it is ending an unusual relationship under which an independent Roman Catholic center has for decades nominated instructors to teach Catholic thought at the university and paid their salaries. Further, the university announced that a controversial adjunct who has taught under the relationship would be back for the fall semester.

You Can't Charge for Controversy

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Let's say a student group wants to invite Sarah Palin to campus, or Bill Ayers for that matter. Can a public university say that approval is contingent on the student group paying all extra security costs associated with such a visit?

Another Subpoena for Research

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At the University of Virginia today, a protest is planned over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's attempt to obtain records about climate change research conducted there -- an attempt that faculty members view as intimidation of scholars whose findings offend the Republican politician. The university, at the behest of its faculty, has gone to court to block the attorney general's information request, and a decision could come as soon as today.

Roping in the Tenured

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Adjuncts consider outreach to their more privileged peers to better achieve labor goals.

Politics or Civility?

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New sociology research suggests that nonpolitical campus characteristics may influence whether conservative students thrive with or feel intimidated by faculty at overwhelmingly liberal institutions.

Legal Loss for Anti-Gay Student

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Federal judge refuses to grant injunction to block master's program in counseling from forcing her to comply with its equity standards.

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