On July 11, 2009, the ACRL Intellectual Freedom Committee held the program “Academic and Intellectual Freedom Climate on Campus: Are Our Freedoms Secure in the Next Generation?” As part of the presentation, we asked the audience members to jot down the top three concerns or threats to intellectual freedom on their campuses. Twenty-two of the seventy audience members did so. The committee members used these comments as inspiration for questions for our three speakers—James Neal, Barbara Fister, and Shawn Healy. The IFC will also use them in planning future programs and projects.
The responses we received are attached to this posting. They are well worth giving a look. Some provide frontline details from librarians grappling with these issues. Others are more suggestive. Both offer substantial food for thought.
In the quick analysis the committee performed while the program was in progress, the most prominent threats to campus intellectual freedom seemed to be
- Absence of an intellectual climate (higher ed as job preparation)
- Conformity (intolerance for diverse opinion)
- Internet filtering and monitoring
- Concern of campus administration with public relations and controlling image
I think these five comments will merit discussion here in the weeks to come.