AMCHA’S Responses to Antisemitic Activity at Johns Hopkins University
1. Johns Hopkins allows the public to weigh in on proposed policy on academic freedom which has loopholes that may enable professors to misuse the classroom.
- INCIDENT: Johns Hopkins University allows the public to weigh in on a proposed policy on academic freedom. The policy as is, may allow for unbridled political expression in the classroom that could easily lead to a corruption of the university’s academic mission, by compromising the quality of teaching, limiting the access of students to vital information about topics of global importance and violating students fundamental right to be educated and not indoctrinated. In addition, faculty who use their classrooms as a bully-pulpit for engaging in politically-motivated and directed speech targeting particular individuals or groups for demonization or delegitimization may create a hostile and discriminatory environment for certain students at Johns Hopkins university. The policy needs additional statements added to ensure this does not happen.
- 5/1/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 25 groups addressed to President Daniels and Provost Lieberman. The letter suggested, “…we recommend that three related statements be included in the policy: 1) A statement describing a mechanism allowing students to register complaints of activities such as coercion or discrimination by faculty who express personal beliefs in the classroom. 2) A statement consistent with the the following sentence from AAUP’s 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure: ‘Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.’ 3) A statement affirming that political indoctrination is inconsistent with the university’s mission and core values. This could be modeled after the language of the University of California Regents Policy on Course Content, which states that: ‘Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination…constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.'”
- 5/5/15 – UNIVERSITY’S RESPONSE: Provost Lieberman replies with a letter relaying they will take the group’s suggestions into consideration stating, “On behalf of myself and President Daniels, thank you for your thoughtful feedback on the draft Statement of Principles. We certainly appreciate the importance of the issues you raise, and we will take your comments into consideration as we finalize the Statement of Principles. Again, thank you for your feedback. Please also relay our thanks to the signatory organizations on your letter below.”