Friday, April 1, 2011

Biddy Martin Takes Her Stand

I present to you, without comment, a part of a statement issued by UW Chancellor Biddy Martin (excerpted from the full version, available on UW Professor Bill Cronon's web post), and hereby retract any doubts I had about her commitment to academic freedom and her support of her faculty. I've never been happier to have been proven so very wrong:
Scholars and scientists pursue knowledge by way of open intellectual exchange. Without a zone of privacy within which to conduct and protect their work, scholars would not be able to produce new knowledge or make life-enhancing discoveries. Lively, even heated and acrimonious debates over policy, campus and otherwise, as well as more narrowly defined disciplinary matters are essential elements of an intellectual environment and such debates are the very definition of the Wisconsin Idea.

When faculty members use email or any other medium to develop and share their thoughts with one another, they must be able to assume a right to the privacy of those
exchanges, barring violations of state law or university policy. Having every exchange of ideas subject to public exposure puts academic freedom in peril and threatens the processes by which knowledge is created. The consequence for our state will be the loss of the most talented and creative faculty who will choose to leave for universities where collegial exchange and the development of ideas can be undertaken without fear of premature exposure or reprisal for unpopular positions.

This does not mean that scholars can be irresponsible in the use of state and university resources or the exercise of academic freedom. We have dutifully reviewed Professor Cronon’s records for any legal or policy violations, such as improper uses of state or university resources for partisan political activity. There are none.

To our faculty, I say: Continue to ask difficult questions, explore unpopular lines of thought and exercise your academic freedom, regardless of your point of view. As always, we will take our cue from the bronze plaque on the walls of Bascom Hall. It calls for the ‘continual and fearless sifting and winnowing’ of ideas. It is our tradition, our defining value, and the way to a better society.

Chancellor Biddy Martin

8 comments:

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I told you dumshittes that Biddy is a baddeasse and is not gonna take shitte from some fucked uppe rightwinge assholes!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I admitted my mistake. No need for name-calling, please.

Digger said...

I was very impressed with how the U. handled it. The two University documents Cronin posts on his website are absolutely worth a read.

Historiann said...

Hey, girl--I just posted on this and found that you beat me to it last night! I also noticed that although you've been on top of Wisconsin current events blogging all winter, you were curiously excluded from a link round-up over at HNN.

I dont' like it.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

hahahah! jk!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Well, it's been the Wisconsin Channel here because I'm a big labor supporter AND I have friends there. As for HNN, I'm not exactly a high-profile blogger, so the Linkers That Be probably are not aware I exist. Which, honestly, is fine: if more people knew I existed, I'd likely have to post more often.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

[I]f more people knew I existed, I'd likely have to post more often.

Hmm...

anthea said...

Wow..Impressive. Good for Biddy! Thank for posting this.