Aug 25, 2016
Every year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education puts out a list of the 10 worst colleges for free speech. And this year, surprisingly, half of the schools on the list earned their spot because they threatened faculty’s right to speak out in some way.
One institution on that list was Northwestern University.
Last year, Northwestern made headlines for its extraordinary attacks on academic freedom on two separate occasions. Once for its 72-day Title IX investigation into Professor Laura Kipnis’ public writings and comments about sexual politics on campus. And on another occasion, for its censorship of a faculty-produced bioethics journal that it feared would damage its medical school’s “brand.”
This episode of “So to Speak” is about academic freedom, and our guest is Alice Dreger.
Dreger is an historian of medicine and science, a sex researcher, a mainstream writer, and what she calls “an (im)patient advocate.” She also formerly held the position of full professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and she was a guest editor for the bioethics journal that Northwestern sought to censor.
In this episode, we speak with Dreger about the importance of academic freedom at Northwestern and beyond, why the corporatization of the modern university threatens free speech on campus, and why we must use the word “formerly” when describing her tenure at Northwestern.
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