The College Fix reports that the Harvard magazine, "The Crimson," published an piece by senior Sandra Y.L. Korn, a joint history of science and studies of women, gender and sexuality major, wherein she calls for the end of academic freedom, and the imposition of a new standard she terms "academic justice." Korn writes:
Yet the liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?Korn goes on to give her support to protests and boycotts to enforce her political views. She then explains:
Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.
The power to enforce academic justice comes from students, faculty, and workers organizing together to make our universities look as we want them to do. ...
... People on the right opposed to boycotts can play the “freedom” game, calling for economic freedom to buy any product or academic freedom to associate with any institution. Only those who care about justice can take the moral upper hand.Of course, what is "just" or "moral" is what expresses her political belief. In other words, her's is simply another argument for censorship. Don't let anyone see how stupid and evil the left has become. Just take your pill, THX1138.
It is tempting to decry frustrating restrictions on academic research as violations of academic freedom. Yet I would encourage student and worker organizers to instead use a framework of justice. After all, if we give up our obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom, we can consider more thoughtfully what is just.
Well, there is a way to combat this. In another of her columns, Korn observes:
Of course, Harvard is a political actor in many ways. Our university makes political statements through where it invests its massive endowment; it makes a political statement withits [sic] treatment of workers on campus; it makes a political statement with the research it funds and the faculty it hires. Yet it also quite literally spends between a quarter million and one-and-a-quarter million dollarseach [sic] year directly advocating for policy changes. Harvard’s top administrators, the Office of Federal Relations, hired lobbyists, and a contracted law firm all spend timelobbying [sic] the federal government and the state of Massachusetts on behalf of our university.So Korn acknowledges that Harvard is engaged in lobbying activities involving politics. By that, it shouldn't be permitted its tax-free status. Harvard, and its endowment, should be taxed. It's time that Harvard began contributing its fair share.
Harvard is certainly not the only university to engage in lobbying the federal government. Even in its highest-spending year recently, 2007, Harvard was outspent by both California State University and Johns Hopkins University. But Harvard’s huge endowment as well as its influence as a huge academic institution means that it can put a lot of economic and moral clout behind legislation that it cares about.