Academic Freedom Is Not a Matter of Opinion

Tom Nichols
The Atlantic

Excerpt: Professor López Prater’s contract has not been renewed, and she will not be returning to the classroom. The university strenuously denies that she was fired. Of course, colleges let adjuncts go all the time, often reluctantly. But this, to me, seems like something more.

I began my 35-year teaching career in the late 1980s and was once a tenure-track faculty member at an elite college, where I was one of a handful of registered Republicans among a mostly liberal faculty. So I think I have a pretty clear idea of what goes on in classrooms. I know what academic freedom means. I think I know what “fired” looks like, and it seems to me that López Prater was fired—a conclusion that seems especially likely in the wake of a highly defensive public letter the school’s president, Fayneese Miller, wrote about the whole business.