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75 Wash. U. L. Q. 1365 (1997)
Academic Freedom and Its Defenders

handle is hein.journals/walq75 and id is 1375 raw text is: ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND ITS DEFENDERS
This collection of tributes provides a very welcome opportunity to take
note of one of our most effective but very quiet defenders of academic
freedom, R. Dale Swihart. Almost thirty years ago, we were colleagues on
the Executive Committee of the Washington University chapter of the
American Association of University Professors (AAUP). It was a time when
the inadequacy of Washington University's old tenure policy was clear.
Chancellor Tom Eliot asked our AAUP chapter to undertake the initial
drafting of a new policy and, of course, it was Dale who did this writing. The
draft went through rigorous review by our committee, by the Faculty Senate
Council and the Administration and, finally, by the Board of Trustees before
adoption in May 1974. Though there have been several amendments and
additions over the years, the fundamental framework still stands-it has worn
well, a tribute to both its soundness and the general will of most (if not all)
people to abide by its spirit as well as its letters.
The work of most university faculty does not attract hostile criticism, and
consequently they face no threats to the security of their positions or their
freedom to explore, in their teaching and pronouncements, ideas that may be
unpopular. When, however, difficulties emerge, the phone of the local AAUP
rings. Our committee will listen to aggrieved faculty, and talk with their
deans, or departmental heads. We advise our faculty of their rights and we
remind the administrators of those rights, especially that of due process. Most
of this discussion goes on away from public view and it can be effective.
None of this, however, could take place if we did not have a strong tenure
policy and it is here, again and again, that we are grateful for Dale's legal
drafting. Our Policy is based, to a considerable degree, on the national
AAUP's Recommended Institutional Regulations that provide a set of
standards that are very widely followed.
Dales' contributions are by no means confined to the past As might be
expected, there are occasions when there are differing interpretations of the
Policy, and it is comforting to know that we are still able to draw on Dale's
incisive analyses.
* Professor of Physics, Washington University.


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