US Academic Freedom of Speech May not be That Free: What is Wrong?By Anita Valencia, UniversityHerald Reporter
US academic freedom for students and teachers should be embraced by all institutions but after another case of a professor fired from school, America is facing a question, is the freedom in jeopardy?
A recent battle between Dr. James Tracy with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is an example of free speech being questioned. According to Washington Times, the professor was dismissed in January 8, after publishing a story in his private blog, claiming the massacre in 2012 was staged- a shooting incident that murdered 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In response to his dismissal, the former FAU professor filed a lawsuit against the university accusing the institution to breach his First Amendment right. However, the reason of termination that FAU confirmed was due to his failure in filling out form that detailed his activities outside school. The official concerned on his private blog, Memory Hole Blog, that could distract his work at the university.
Academic freedom has become a huge issue in the State, especially in the US universities. Previously, associate professor at Marquette University was banned after defending the freedom right of gay students, University Herald reported.
According to the Global Research, the idea to embrace academic freedom seems to be far from what it is supposed to. The case that happens to Tracy has him called with many names including 'a virus' and 'a sicko'. It indicates that the freedom of speech does not protect American academics and it could lead to employment loss and reputation ruined by the bad publicity.
The freedom to express concerns or opinions in educational institution has actually been stated in academic freedom policies. The University of California, for instance, embedding a 3-page policy on freedom of speech. Harvard University also guarantees the academic freedom in its guidelines. At FAU, the academic freedom policy in "FAU Handbook" states that employees should be able to discuss academic subjects without fear of censorship.
Will this battle's result affect US education in all areas?