Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Thought Updates

Freedom of Expression at USD Law School

Alida Kass

A professor at the University of San Diego Law School is under investigation for using a particular turn of phrase in a blog post. The blog post expressed skepticism over some of the more benign theories for how the Chinese government handled the outbreak of the coronavirus. Some students interpreted the comment as anti-Asian and demanded the professor be fired.

Several professors at San Diego have signed a letter to the school’s dean, expressing concerns over the school’s reaction:

“An academic institution committed to free inquiry cannot allow misplaced accusations of bigotry to become an all-purpose tool for silencing critical comment. To allow such accusations to undermine academic freedom ultimately ensures an environment of fear and suspicion for all members of the academic community, undermining rather than ensuring a welcoming and respectful discourse

We are concerned that treating these complaints the way you are doing validates student reactions and strained interpretations that are misguided, that reflect a lack of critical thinking, and that will chill faculty members’ teaching and scholarship.”

Read more from UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh on this matter here and here

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