Blogs > Liberty and Power > Faculty Advisor Fails to Defend Academic Freedom

Apr 7, 2005 4:25 pm


Faculty Advisor Fails to Defend Academic Freedom



The College Republican chapter of Grand Valley State University in Michigan, has removed Kyle Rausch, as the head of the organization. Apparently, Rausch's only offense was that he tried to stage an affirmative action bake. Instead of defending Mr. Rausch's free speech rights, Professor Paul Leidig, the faculty advisor of the College Republicans, caved in and supported the removal.

After reading this, I wrote this email to Professor Leidig:

I just read the story in the Grand Rapids Press about your apparent failure to defend the free speech rights of the College Republicans on your campus.

If the story is true, your actions are deplorable and deserve the strongest criticism from those of us who believe in academic freedom.

As a member of the history department at the University of Alabama, I too am an advisor for a student organization. When I accepted that position, I took on the moral obligation to defend the academic freedom of the students I supervised. By all indications, you have failed completely in this obligation.

Free speech is under attack on campuses throughout the United States. Usually, this attack is led by administrators. For this reason, it is especially unfortunate that a member of the faculty has not only failed to fight back but has joined the front ranks of this attack.

You not only owe Mr. Rausch an unqualified and public apology but you have a obligation to immediately urge his reinstatement as head of the College Republicans.

If others want to do the same, Professor Leidig's address is Leidig@gvsu.edu



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More Comments:


David Timothy Beito - 4/7/2005

I looked this guy on the web. Based on what he say, he seems to have broader political ambitions in the party. I guess his approach is to "play it safe."


Robert L. Campbell - 4/7/2005

David,

I was particularly struck by this passage from the article you linked to:

****

Paul Leidig, the club's faculty adviser, said "the club supported the idea of the bake sale as a satirical form of expression against affirmative action."

But Leidig, who also is chairman of the Ottawa County Republican Party, said he did not know the students planned to use a racially biased price scale when he approved the event.

"Had I known that, I would have not approved it," he said.

****
Is Paul Leidig from Jupiter? If he were, we could
believe him when he pretends not to know what an affirmative action bake sale is.

Robert Campbell