Under attack at NYU, Mark Crispin Miller needs your support for academic freedom
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We the undersigned support the academic freedom of Prof. Mark Crispin Miller, now under siege at New York University for urging students in his propaganda course to read scientific literature on the effectiveness of masks against transmission of COVID-19. We see his situation as but one example of a growing global trend toward rigid censorship of expert views on urgent subjects of all kinds; so this petition is not just in his defense, but a protest on behalf of all professors, doctors, scientists and journalists who have been gagged, or punished for their rights to freely research, study, and interpret data on a variety of matters regardless of their controversial nature.
Censorship is nothing new. We have been edging toward it ever more for decades, as both academia and the media have long discouraged free investigation and discussion of urgent public questions of all kinds, as those who would attempt to tackle them empirically have been slandered as “conspiracy theorists” or “truthers” and other slurs deployed to shut them up, or purge them as purveyors of “misinformation,” “fake science” or “hate speech.” Such censorship has blocked the sort of open, civil, reasoned give-and-take without which higher education—indeed, any education—is impossible, as is scientific progress overall.
We see Prof. Miller’s situation as a flashpoint in the struggle not just to reclaim but to protect free speech and free inquiry. NYU officials have no right to intervene in Prof. Miller’s courses or message his students surreptitiously undermining his integrity as an instructor. They have no right to deprive him of the courses he was hired to teach and they should not join in a public smear campaign against the very rights they should uphold at a university.
That so stated, we urge that NYU respect his academic freedom, and thereby set a good example for all other schools with faculty who dare contest official narratives. Otherwise, “education” there will be mere training for compliance, stunting students’ minds instead of opening them—a practice fatal to democracy, and, finally, to humanity itself.
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