Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Kalven Committee Report on the University's Role in Political and Social Action

Some documents are timeless and important. The Kalven Committee's "Report on the University's Role in Political and Social Action," which was written in 1967 by a committee at the University of Chicago, may be one of them. I learned of the Kalven committee report from an interview of Jonathan R. Cole by Cat Warren in the May-June issue of "Academe," the magazine of the American Association of University Professors (interview, report). Jonathan Cole has just written a book ("The Great American University: It's Rise to Preeminence, It's Indispensable National Role, and Why it Must Be Protected", available at Amazon). I have my differences with Jonathan Cole (who was provost for most of the time that I spent at Columbia University), but I like what he says in that interview. It is good that he can refer, today, to a report written in 1967, and I encourage all scholars to read it. I, for one, am inspired to defend free inquiry and academic freedom, and to emphasize whenever possible how important they are to having a free society.

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