October 16, 1996
The Honorable Thomas R. Reagan
Chair, Board of Regents
University of Minnesota
2400 Oakland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55812
Dear Mr. Reagan:
The document recently developed by the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota putting forth new regulations on personnel procedures and tenure causes us serious concern. We are alarmed by the tone of the entire document, and object strongly to virtually every aspect of its content. We view this document as a serious threat to academic freedom and responsibility. We believe the Board of Regents have erred seriously in their understanding of academic freedom, and fail to appreciate the risks to the university and especially to society in implementing the document as presented.
The AAUP Policy Documents and Reports (1995 p. 107) explains our position clearly:
For more than half a century the American Association of University Professors has acted upon two principles: that colleges and universities server the common good through learning, teaching, research, and scholarship; and that the fulfillment of this function necessarily rests upon the preservation of the intellectual freedoms of teaching, expression, research, and debate. All components of the academic community have a responsibility to exemplify and support these freedoms in the interests of reasoned inquiry.
Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off the campus.
We believe the regulations as promulgated are an insult to the integrity of faculty, reduce or remove their autonomy, threaten intellectual freedom and creativity, and impair society's ability to determine the truth. In our eyes the proposed regulations appear as tactics of intimidation and harassment and permit the Board to act in a capricious manner. We urge the Board to reconsider and revise their document and submit a draft for review by the academic community.
Elsa L. Ramsden, President
Morris Mendelson, Vice President
Ira M. Cohen, Secretary
Janet A. Deatrick, Board Member
Martin S. Estey, Board Member
Peter J. Freyd, Board Member
Charles W. Mooney, Board Member
President, University of Minnesota
President, University of Pennsylvania
Chair, Faculty Senate, University of Pennsylvania
Chair, Faculty Senate, University of Minnesota
Volume 43 Number 10
October 29, 1996
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