There is a heated debate in the country about expressively race-based and race-influenced decision-making in judicial appointments, hiring, college admissions, and more. (see, for example, here and here). The function of academic freedom is generally to help promote free debate by allowing faculty and students to discuss various topics without fear (among other things) of losing their jobs.
The principles of academic freedom are often invoked in practical disputes over what someone at noted. But their purpose, of course, is to make people feel free say things in the future. So with that in mind, let me pose a question to people who think Georgetown can rightly fire or discipline Ilya Shapiro, in accordance with his stated principles of academic freedom, for his tweet about race-based appointments — or who consider the possibility that Georgetown may rightly do so:
What criticisms of such race-based decision-making do you think academic freedom still protects, so that the people of Georgetown feel free to make such criticisms?
Please choose one and post your answers and explanations in the comments or tweet them:
- Academic freedom does not protect criticism of such race-based appointments, hirings, admissions, etc. (at least as long as the decisions favor one or another racial minority group).
- Academic freedom protects such criticism, but only if Georgetown administrators, who likely disagree with the criticism, nevertheless believe the criticism to be well-reasoned, thoughtful, coherent, etc. (If so, would you apply this criterion to all views on all topics, or only to criticism of race-based decision-making?)
- Academic freedom protects such criticism unless it leads to enough controversy and condemnation among various groups that the Georgetown administration finds particularly important. (Again, would you apply this criterion to all views on all topics, or only to criticism of race-based decision-making?)
- Academic freedom shields such criticism, except for arguments that such race-based decision-making favors the less qualified over the more qualified. Opponents of race-based decision-making must defend their positions without making these arguments.
- Academic freedom protects such criticism, including a hypothetical statement such as “Objectively, the best choice for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog&v smart… But alas, this does not fit into the latest hierarchy of intersectionality, so we will have [less-qualified] black woman.” But writing “we will have a less qualified black woman” (that’s what the tweet says in this case) instead of “we will have a less qualified black woman” (as in the hypothetical) should be a dismissal offence.
- Something else, but then please tell us what rule you suggest Georgetown should announce on these matters.