Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1999

Abstract

"Veritas vos liberabit," chanted the scholastics of yesteryear. The "truth will set you free," echo their latter-day counterparts in the academy, intoning the mantra reverentially but with increasingly more hope than confidence, more faith than conviction.... The real world of the academy, of course, is not quite that wonderful, nor nearly as bad as many would suggest. The ironies become palpable, however, when those self-same institutions, which almost universally view themselves as bastions of free speech, instead stifle debate that is perceived as politically incorrect or otherwise embarrassing. Academic administrators naturally shy away from conflict and contention. They shun controversy. They abhor negative publicity of any kind, quelling it as heavy-handedly as conservative corporations whose primary concern is to ensure a profitable bottom line. Thus universities have become intuitively reluctant to sponsor ideas that clash too loudly. The research and scholarship they most enthusiastically support is that which curries favorable coverage from the media and attracts large amounts of dollars from alumni.

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