Topic

academic freedom

18 petitions

Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Cambridge University Press, Reed-Elsevier Group, Springer Publishing Company, John Wiley & Sons Publishing company, Taylor & Francis Group, SAGE Publications Publishing company, Oxford University Press, Thomson Reuters, Walter de Gruyter Company, McGraw Hill Education, Princeton University Press, Palgrave Macmillan Publishing company, Brill publishers, University of Hawaii Press, University of Chicago Press, Cornell University Press, Stanford University Press, University of California Press, Yale University Press, Indiana University Press, Columbia University Press, Duke University Press, Harvard University Press, SUNY press, Australian National University Press, University of Washington Press, University of Michigan Press, Amsterdam University Press, University of Illinois Press, Melbourne University Publishing, Monash University Publishing, Sydney University Press, University of Adelaide Press, University of New South Wales Press, University of Queensland Press, Presses Universitaires de France (PUF), Presses Universitaires de Rennes (PUR), European University Press, EBSCO Publishing, JSTOR , ScienceDirect , Web of Science, Association of American University Presses, Association of University Presses

Peer Review Boycott of Academic Publications that Censor Content in China

In recent weeks, the prestigious academic publishing house Cambridge University Press came under unprecedented pressure from the Chinese government to restrict access in China to hundreds of articles and book reviews and thousands of e-books in two of its flagship Chinese and Asian studies journals, China Quarterly and The Journal of Asian Studies. While Cambridge University Press initially agreed to censor articles in China Quarterly, it reversed that decision after outcry from the international academic community. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Chinese government's increasing efforts to tighten controls on academic institutions, other international academic publishers have admitted to quietly censoring their content in order to gain access to Chinese markets, and at least one database company, LexisNexis, pulled two of its products from China after pressure from authorities. As members of the international academic community, we confirm the fundamental value of academic freedom, which should override – in every instance – consideration of governments' demands or market access. We also confirm the right of our colleagues who are citizens of China to unfettered access to international scholarship in all fields. Academic publications are sustained through the social contract they enter into with their authors as well as with the larger academic community. That academic community provides the free peer review service and unpaid contributions of authors that uphold the integrity of publications' brands. As such, academic publications should honor their commitment to broadly disseminate the knowledge they produce without acceding to governments' demands. While we acknowledge that it can be difficult to discern which publications or their holding companies are censoring in China, we call for a peer review boycott of any non-PRC-based academic publication known to be censoring its content in the People's Republic of China. From now on, we will not agree to provide peer review service until editors confirm that their publications do not censor content in the PRC, and we call on all others to do so as well. With a large number of signatories, we can send a strong message to major academic publishers and/or their holding companies. This petition will be sent to the five major publishing companies that control over half of international peer-reviewed academic work (Reed-Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor & Francis and Sage); to all the major university presses in Asian studies in the U.S., Europe and Australia; as well as to the major academic databases (like LexisNexis and Web of Science) NOTE: To display your name on the website for maximum impact, when you sign, please leave the box checked for 'Display my name and comment on this petition,' and type in your academic affiliation, along with any comments you have, in the box for 'Reason for signing'. Your name will be included in the final downloaded list, but only if you add a comment to 'Reason for signing' will your name be displayed on the web page.

Charlene Makley
703 supporters
Started 4 weeks ago

Petition to Dr. Max Price

Protect Academic Freedom at UCT: Investigate the Confucius Institute

The Chinese government has an influence over education at the University of Cape Town. This is the same government who is responsible for the deaths of over 1 million Tibetans; imprisons and tortures thousands of citizens for exercising their freedom of expression; and teaches their school children that the Dalai Lama is evil. Confucius Institutes (CIs) are Chinese government funded programs that claim to promote Chinese education and culture at universities and schools across the world. However, they have been accused of censorship and propaganda regarding topics such as Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen. There have been other complaints about Chinese state involvement too; for example it was discovered that the hiring policies of the McMaster University's CI banned association with the spiritual group Falun Gong. Multiple American univeristies have closed down their CIs; and in 2014 in Canada, trustees of the nation's largest school board voted overwhelmingly to cancel a potential deal that would have incorporated CIs into secondary schools across Toronto, Ontario. The Confucius Institutes are China’s soft power push inside our schools; the CI at the University of Cape Town (UCT) threatens our sovereignty and the academic freedom of UCT. It is presumed that representatives of UCT would have signed a nondisclosure agreement with Hanban (the headquarter of CIs and a Chinese government agency) as part of their partnership. Article 5 of this type of agreement has typically stated that it “requires that Confucius Institute activities conform to the customs, laws and regulations of China as well as those of the host institution’s country.” This article clearly requires CI staff and fellows to abide by Chinese law, which includes statutes that contradict free expression, religious freedom and the human rights law of South Africa. Furthermore, it goes against the goal of academic freedom that UCT claims to aspire to uphold. We demand that a formal investigation takes place regarding the Confucius Institute at UCT. Solutions proposed by SFT include: rejection of any agreements or terms requiring non-disclosure or compliance with Chinese law in any manner that is contrary to UCT’s values and the South African constitution; an open and transparent review of the Confucius Institute’s adherence to values compatible with UCT’s ethos; failing which we propose that UCT terminates its recognition of the current Confucius Institute and prohibits a new C.I from operating on UCT campus unless it agrees to acceptable values of free expression, religious freedom, tolerance and human rights in general. We demand that we either have a constitutionally compatible Confucius Institute or don't have one at all. This is vital  for protecting academic freedom at the University of Cape Town. More than that, it demonstrates that South Africa will not bow down to the abusive Chinese state. South African history shows all too well the dangers of an education system created by an oppressive regime. We cherish our own hard-won freedom from oppression and tyranny and should stand by groups such as the Tibetan people, who continue to suffer similar injustice and ethnic oppression.

Students for a Free Tibet, UCT
119 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Essex County College Board of Trustees, Calvin Souder, Jeweline Grimes, Anthony Munroe, Jeff Lee, Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.

REINSTATE PROFESSOR LISA DURDEN! EQUALITY FOR ADJUNCTS!

#ReinstateProfessorLisaDurden to her position as adjunct professor at Essex County College IMMEDIATELY! ABOUT THE CASELisa Durden, producer, filmmaker, media commentator and professor, appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson on June 6th. Carlson insulted her repeatedly (“demented, separatist, Nazi”) for defending the Black Lives Matter movement’s right to have Black only safe space event for Memorial Day. Professor Durden succinctly and cogently defended her principled position and exposed Tucker’s white male fragility for what it was -- a childish tantrum. Less than 48 hours later, Professor Lisa Durden was summarily suspended by Essex County College (ECC), where she teaches media and effective speech.  Without union representation at the meeting, ECC administrators told her that she was suspended because of her appearance on Fox News. She was told to leave the building and not return. Instead of defending Professor Durden’s right to free speech and congratulating her on standing up to racism and sexism, the administration at the Predominantly Black Institution chose to effectively fire this accomplished media professional and educator. Professor Lisa Durden is a lifelong Newark, NJ resident who has given her time and expertise generously to the youth of the city. She has provided highly competitive internships in New York media for Essex County College students for a decade. She was recently honored by the City of Newark for her outstanding work in media with women and young people. Professor Durden has braved racist death threats from the alt right movement to speak truth to power on national television. Why is Essex County College firing a beloved professor for exercising her First Amendment right? In Trump’s America are Black Women professors not allowed the right to free speech? We demand that Professor Lisa Durden be reinstated to her position and given her full course load (12 credits per semester teaching Mass Communications and Effective Speech classes) that she was assigned for the full 2017/2018 academic year. We demand equality for adjunct, contingent and junior faculty in pay and treatment. Nationwide, higher education administrations have created an apartheid system, paying themselves grandiose salaries of $200,000+ while junior, contingent and adjunct faculty are paid peanuts. Adjunct faculty are often forced to sleep in their cars and go on food stamps because they cannot survive the poverty wages and insecure, short term, “at will” employment that colleges force on them. Administrators pit adjunct and full time faculty against each other and use their disgusting treatment of adjunct labor to scare full time faculty into submission. This diminishes the quality of education for students, even as their tuition skyrockets. We demand full equality in pay and treatment among adjunct, contract and full-time, tenured faculty!

Educators & Students United to Reinstate Professor Lisa Durden
2,525 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Gene Block, Kerri Johnson, Laura E. Goméz, Scott Waugh, Michael S. Levine, Susan Carlson, Janet Napolitano, Greg Bryant, Tim Groeling, Martie Haselton, Francis Steen, PJ Lamberson, Georgia Kernell, Jungseock Joo, Charles Goodwin, Board of Regents, Neil Malamuth, Steve Peterson, UC System Administrators, Campus Administrators, Campus Student Leaders

Open Letter to UCLA Administrators: Keep Professor Fink at UCLA!

We, the undersigned, are deeply repulsed by UCLA’s treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of Keith Fink — one of the most popular and influential professors on campus. In concert with other campus officials, the Department of Communication Studies’ leaders (Chair Kerri Johnson and Vice Chair Greg Bryant) have repeatedly taken actions against Professor Fink that thwart his academic freedom and threaten his continued impact on thousands of UCLA students for years to come. Kerri Johnson and Greg Bryant took the helm of the Communication Studies Department at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. Prior to ever meeting or speaking with Professor Fink – let alone seeing him teach – Johnson implemented an unprecedentedly-rigid cap on his courses, reversing years’ of past precedent. Her capricious justifications for this are dubious, at best.  Campus Reform explains in detail here. The Department’s most recent actions are even more repulsive. Professor Fink is up for “Excellence Review” (an “up or out” review conducted during a lecturer’s 18th quarter teaching). Johnson and her staff have repeatedly attempted to deprive Fink of the opportunity submit positive material into his Excellence Review file. Such positive information would flatly contradict their mission to have Professor Fink deemed “not excellent” and thus terminated from UCLA.  At the outset of his evaluation, Professor Fink identified three Academic Senate faculty (including Johnson and Bryant) in the Department as “biased,” meaning their preexisting animosity towards Fink would prevent them from being able to objectively evaluate him. Despite their obligation to go to great lengths to avoid having a “biased” faculty member evaluate his course, Johnson nevertheless chose Bryant to evaluate Fink’s teaching. Unsurprisingly, Bryant’s review was negative. On a more sinister level, it is riddled with pernicious lies, deceptively mischaracterizes his course with out-of-context examples, and casts Fink as a radical loose cannon who uses “his role as a lecturer to espouse his own personal legal views.” Nothing could be further from the truth – evidenced in part by the glowing evaluations of almost all of the thousands of students who have taken his courses. Johnson also forcefully and incorrectly misstated the University policy governing the inclusion of positive student evaluation letters in his review file. To this day, she never acknowledged her mistake. Later, in dereliction of University policy, the Department failed to solicit student letters from a list of names provided by Professor Fink — until it was too late. When pressed on the issue and given a new list of names of students from whom letters could be solicited, the department “accidentally” omitted the single best letter from his review file.  These actions are no mistake and certainly not a coincidence. They constitute a series of calculated lies, vindictive decisions, and sloppy coverups to dispose of someone they dislike. The conspicuous amount of dishonesty and injustice targeted at Professor Fink is the antithesis of “Bruin Values” – the same virtues that the administration repeatedly flaunts and exhorts its students to adhere to. UCLA has taught us to fight injustice whenever it rears its ugly head. We will not idly sit by and watch a beloved professor have his teaching career discarded in a politically-motivated and morally-bankrupt fashion by Chair Kerri Johnson, Dean Laura Gomez, and other administrator-bureaucrats within the school’s ivory towers. We demand that the school treat Professor Fink fairly, which includes restoring his academic freedom, removing Johnson’s arbitrary restrictions on his class size, and, most importantly, administering his Excellence Review in a truthful and just manner. Professor Fink is by all outward measures one of UCLA’s greatest, most popular, and influential professors. If the school ignores our plea and continues to endorse the corrupt dealings in the Department of Communication Studies, they will not only lose one of their most valuable and influential professors but also repel thousands of donors (current and future alike) from supporting this institution.

Keep Professor Fink at UCLA
1,309 supporters