A question of academic freedom

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) formed in 1915 largely to protect the free speech rights of professors. Far worse, candidates now get screened for ideological orthodoxy before being hired. Many colleges and universities make candidates swear fealty to "multiculturalism" and "diversity" before applying for employment. The AAUP should denounce this ideological discrimination.

AAUP is America's foremost institution dedicated to academic freedom. Upon being formed the AAUP released the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure. When professors chaffed at being required to sign oaths of loyalty to this nation, the AAUP bravely stood for the right of unpopular opinion to be heard then and continue the fight against such oaths today. Honest intellectual inquiry and forced agreement on principles can not, the AAUP has consistently argued, meld.

As one example, the application for employment at Qunsigamond Community College requires "embracing the ideals of diversity" and an "appreciation of differences." This being typical, no one can thus deny that many colleges and universities screen for support on an ideological position before considering you for employment.

Perhaps the AAUP sees such clauses as so innocuous that no one could disagree with multiculturalism and diversity. As such they would have adopted the very argument those advocating loyalty oaths put forward. But advocating multiculturalism and diversity (as put forward in employment clauses with no qualifiers) amounts to taking sides on fundamental issues. Only allowing those who support multiculturalism in our educational institutions has far reaching implications that we should and must have the freedom to debate.

Multiculturalism without qualifications implies equivocation between cultures. As such it undermines the very important scholarly idea of American Exceptionalism. Multiculturalism can be read to mean that our nation has no more roots in European heritage than any other culture. Thus it covertly provides a bias against our long tradition of teaching Western Civilization in our universities.

We should not ask the AAUP to agree with multiculturalisms' opposite - culturism. It does not ask that you support the culturist position that America's roots lay in Athens and Jerusalem and we have a right to unify around that fact. We should simply challenge the AAUP to advocate for the right to have this debate. As the author of "Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future," the clauses in question overtly and categorically bar me from employment. Imagine your organization's reaction if all applicants had to sign pledges in support of culturism.

If the AAUP stands for freedom of speech, regardless of position, it must publicly denounce demanding fealty to multiculturalism over culturism as a prerequisite for employment.


John K. Press earned his doctorate from New York University in the History of Education.  He is the President of the Brooklyn TEA Party and the author of "Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future."  www.culturism.us has more information on culturism. 

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