Fall Semester, 2014: Faculty voices on our campuses are publicly and
vigorously under attack. Among other aggressive new strategies,
administrators across the country have introduced policies intended to
limit freedom of speech on campus in the name of “civility.” These
policies are intended to threaten faculty and students, directly and
indirectly. They are aimed at those who express views that are
politically charged, or that are contrary to the opinions of legislators
or powerful private funders, people whose influence on our campuses
has once again begun to dominate.
At the same time, faculty governance rights as traditionally
understood, whether as meaningful participation in decision making
through faculty senates or an academic department’s primary
responsibility for filling faculty positions—are under fire. The
faculty is declining in influence and administrators now seem more
likely to turn to funders than to faculty when decisions must be made.
None of this is new. It is simply made more powerful daily as we
continue to deal with the impact of shrinking public resources,
administrators’ random introduction of “creative disruption” agendas,
the increasing possibility that state legislators will push for more
right-to-work legislation, and all of the other pernicious practices
that have been referred to in these pages and elsewhere as
the corporatization of higher education.