I’ll agree we could all use a little more liberty and freedom in this world.
I’ve written on the Churchill case before, and as I’ve said, I believe UC would be well within their rights to remove him as a professor. It’s not a universally held view, and Volokh comes up with some good arguments for greater academic freedom than UC is granting in this case. (I linked to Left2Right, which links to Volokh, partially because the comments are pretty good there, and partially because I’m having trouble with Volokh’s permalinks. Can’t figure out why.)
I recognize the hypocrisy inherent in UC’s “investigation.” They hired a person known for his controversial views and now they want to fire him for it. They probably got some sort of benefit out of hiring him and placing him as the head of a department. I’m not sure academic freedom is necessarily a good argument against correcting mistakes, however.
Like religious freedom, academic freedom has always had de facto limits, but those limits are constantly constructed. A lot of the backlash against UC pushing against those limits on one side serves to push back from the other side, which creates its own balance. However, would Churchill’s firing push us further down the slippery slope towards university-controlled speech? I doubt it. We’ve been moving along that slope for a long time, and it hasn’t proven so slippery. The Churchill case was passed a long time ago on that slope, if it ever would have been behind the line of academic freedom.
BTW, while perusing comments, I ran across one of Paul Campos’ columns on the Churchill case. Interesting that he’s alleged to have said he was either 1/16 or 3/16 Cherokee. Maybe I could get hired in Ethnic Studies at UC. 🙂 (Cheap shot, I know.
I don’t know where he grew up, or what culture he was raised in. Oops, never mind. Just took a search on the Rocky Mountain News. I get the feeling that newspaper has been writing a lot of articles about Churchill recently.)