Sociologists more worried today about academic freedom than in McCarthy era

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A greater percentage of social scientists today feel that their academic freedom has been threatened than was the case during the McCarthy era.

That finding — from Neil Gross, an assistant professor of sociology at Harvard University — was among a series of pessimistic papers presented at a forum on academic freedom Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Gross surveyed social science professors last year about whether they had felt that their academic freedom was threatened, and found that about one-third did. In 1955, Paul Lazarsfeld, the late Columbia University professor, did a similar survey and found only one-fifth of professors feeling affected by attacks on their academic freedom.

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William Mandel - 8/18/2007

Early in June, in connection with my 90th birthday, I learned that McCarthy's witch hunt is still a live issue at least in Germany. A film crew came from there and had me on camera for two hours for a documentary they are making on McCarthyism for English-speaking as well as German audiences. They had discovered my nationally-televised testimony before him in 1953 (available on YouTube), which ended with my words: "Poor Sen. McCarthy! You can dish it out but you can't take it. Okay.!" His standing destroyed, he drank himself to death within a year.