Academic Freedom for All at Columbia University
Columbians for Academic Freedom
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Columbia University President Lee Bollinger
Board of Trustees Chair David Stern
The Columbia University Board of Trustees
Columbia University is an outstanding academic institution, yet some students who express dissenting views in class are being intimidated and silenced by certain professors who have promoted a biased and politicized agenda in their classroom.
We, members of the Columbia University community - including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general community - call on Columbia University to renew its commitment to the principles of academic freedom, high standards of intellectual inquiry, and freedom of expression in the classroom.
We believe that all Americans should be concerned about intimidation and restriction of free expressions on campus. We need to ensure that in our universities all students are able to engage openly in respectful intellectual debate.
We believe that the Columbia University must adopt strong measures to end incidents of intimidation and harassment in the classroom and on campus, and to create a genuine learning environment within the University.
We the undersigned call upon President Lee Bollinger and the Trustees of Columbia University to restore the academic integrity of Columbia University and request the following:
1. Adoption of a zero-tolerance policy toward any harassment and abuse of professorial power in the classroom and on campus, with clear and effective consequences for those who violate the policy. This policy should include a "user friendly" complaint process that protects the victim, similar to policies and procedures for reporting sexual harassment.
2. Investigation of the charges of abuse raised by students in the film Columbia Unbecoming in order to maintain the integrity of the University, and to ensure an open intellectual environment free of harassment of dissenting views.
3. Adoption of a single standard and policy for ALL minorities and ethnic groups on campus.
4. Diversification of the Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures department for the sake of academic integrity and intellectual diversity. We ask the University to encourage greater emphasis on the major challenges facing the Middle East, such as democracy, women and minority rights, civil society, religious fundamentalism, and modernity.