WASHINGTON, DC—Responding to a statement released by the American Council on Education on behalf of a coalition of higher education associations, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) criticized it as mere lip service to intellectual diversity.
ACE’s statement acknowledges that “intellectual pluralism” and “academic freedom” have become a “public controversy.” The statement goes on to outline the importance of the free exchange of ideas, grading free of political bias, grievance procedures for students and faculty who are treated unfairly, and the application of intellectual standards.
“The real question is: ‘Where’s the beef?’,” said Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. “The ACE statement does not propose specific solutions or actions,” said Neal. “It says nothing about rolling back the hundreds of speech codes prevalent across the country. It does nothing to deal with intolerant behavior of administrators aimed at students with different political views. The only clear intent is to tell the public to leave the problem to the institutions.”
“It’s like saying, don’t worry: The same folks who brought you Ward Churchill will solve the problem,” said Neal.
“We agree the responsibility for correcting the current situation falls, first and foremost, to the universities themselves,” said Neal. “The reality remains, however, that faculties are politically biased, course readings and campus speaking events are one-sided, and there is a basic hostility to ideas outside of the campus orthodoxies. We would like to hear how the higher education establishment plans to deal with these problems.”
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni in a national nonprofit dedicated to academic freedom, academic standards and accountability in higher education. ACTA works with hundreds of college and university trustees across the country representing more than a million students.