How the AHA Lost Its Way
March 15, 2006
...[W]e began our campaign to sway the AHA by making a principled private appeal to the sponsors of the anti-ABOR resolution. We urged them to add a friendly amendment condemning speech codes that violate academic freedom. We expected to be rebuffed but retained some hope…. If HAW [the sponsors of the resolution] and AHA remained silent on speech codes, we also warned, the result would be to give David Horowitz an unintended victory by allowing him to triumphantly charge hypocrisy and selectivity.The sponsors of HAW’s resolution were not buying our arguments. They refused to compromise. Meanwhile, Horowitz began to criticize our resolution for encouraging “complete anarchy” on campus and giving aid and comfort to Ward Churchill and others on the left who try to indoctrinate. Almost everything was going according to expectation. We were smoking out critics on both the left and the right and, to a limited extent, were making them confront uncomfortable truths. Also, FIRE, the most consistent organizational champion of academic freedom today, was highly supportive of our cause and provided valuable publicity. The three of us drafted a substitute resolution, which opposed “passage of the Academic and Student Bills of Rights, the use of speech codes to restrict academic freedom, and all similar attempts to limit free and open discourse on campus.” Contrary to what some of our critics later said, the substitute did not oppose all speech codes. It only condemned those that restrict academic freedom.Just prior to the final showdown, we pushed our substitute resolution at HAW’s meeting, which was also held during the AHA annual meeting. We lost overwhelmingly….