Tuesday, September 28, 2010

U of M faculty, citing academic freedom,

call for investigation of Troubled Waters actions

And so it goes...

Molly Priesmeyer soldiers on:

After more than a week of bad press and internal and external pressure, the University of Minnesota announced last week it would be premiering the film Troubled Waters as originally planned.

Applauding this sudden turnaround were U of M faculty, students, and staff, many of whom had expressed their displeasure with the university's decision to halt the premiere.  On blogs and in classrooms, they called the move censorship by the university.

Faculty and staff have called for a full-scale investigation into just how the University public relations department came to make academic decisions about a research-based film.

"This should've never happened in the first place," said Christine Marran, associate professor of Asian Languages and Literatures ... "The main point for me and all faculty is that this kind of thing undermines faith in the process of academic freedom," said Marran.

"This cannot go without scrutiny," he [Jon Foley, the director of the U's Institute on the Environment] said. "We must clarify roles and responsibilities. And we also need to know just what happened here in order for academic freedom to be absolute and never again compromised like this."

"What it reveals," Rhoades [Gary Rhoades, the AAUP general secretary] said, "is that the community can have an impact on the university in fulfilling its public good responsibilities. And internally, research and monies should focus on the core aspects of the institution." In other words, Rhoades said, a land-grant institution shouldn't just serve the highest bidders.

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