April 29, 2005
Since the 1980s, there has been a handful of faculty members who have sacrificed time, energy, peace, and, too often, fair treatment, in order to stand up for the rights of their students and their colleagues. It is hard to imagine their colleges and universities without them. They bear witness to the deepest values of critical mind, liberty, legal equality, and fairness. They speak truth to campus power. They rally opposition to tendentious or invidiously discriminatory programs. They do everything they can to hold administrators to the promises of academic freedom to which those administrators subscribe in theory, but, alas, subscribe so rarely in practice. I do not know their politics, which extend, I am sure, across the spectrum, but I know their commitments to the dignity of liberty and mind. At the University of California at San Diego, Hal Pashler, professor of psychology; at West Virginia University, Daniel Shapiro, professor of philosophy, and Robert Griffith, professor of pharmacy; at the University of Alaska, Judith Kleinfeld, professor of psychology in education, and Stephen Haycox, professor of history; at the University of Pennsylvania, long before I ever learned to say a word, Michael Cohen, now professor emeritus of physics; at the University of Delaware, Linda Gottfredson, professor of psychology and education; at the University of Wisconsin, Donald Downs, professor of political science; at the University of Massachusetts, Robert Costrell, professor of economics; at the University of Alabama, David Beito, professor of history, and Charles Nuckolls, professor of anthropology; at Brooklyn College, KC Johnson, professor of history; These are the unsung heroes of American academic life, the keepers of faculty honor, the guardians of the flames of honest debate and of freedom. We shall talk further about such people, and we shall expand the honor roll—there are many, many more such souls—but it is time to start naming and thanking them.