Have you heard? Academic freedom is under threat on our campus.
It started in Wisconsin, after a University of Wisconsin professor commented on current events there in a blog post. The Republican Party of Wisconsin then filed a Freedom of Information Act request for access to hundreds of emails sent to and from the professor's university email account.
Just a few days later the Mackinac Center, a conservative think tank here in Michigan, filed a similar request for emails from members of the Labor Studies Center at the University of Michigan.
The request is absurdly broad and meant to do only one thing — intimidate scholars who might write about labor issues in ways that the Mackinac Center disagrees with. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman calls it "academic intimidation."
The Freedom of Information Act is meant to make government business more transparent — not to snoop through all of a professor's emails.
The University of Wisconsin fought back when it fullfilled the request by refusing to release private email exchanges among scholars, saying that those fall within the orbit of academic freedom.
The University of Michigan should do the same. Sign this petition in support of our academic community.
Lee Palmer, a compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to University of Michigan, Office of the President. (Not Lee Palmer? Click here.)
Full petition text:
"Protect academic freedom at the University of Michigan by safeguarding academic email from frivolous disclosure requests."
Please submit unanswered questions here: http://civic.moveon.org/feedback/
The " Protect academic freedom at the University of Michigan " campaign is brought to you by MoveOn.org Civic Action™.