FIRE asks only that a personal “commitment to social justice” or any other vague or politically loaded term no longer be required of Teachers College students, not that the school as a whole abandon its attachment to a certain model of “social justice.” Indeed, FIRE has no position or comment on the ideological or political nature of the college’s definition of social justice. We would oppose with equal vigor a policy requiring students to demonstrate their commitment to “patriotism,” “individualism” or “capitalism.” Any educational institution that claims to value free speech and academic freedom may not prescribe students’ final conclusions on questions of great personal, moral, political, and philosophical importance. Helping prepare students to research, reason, criticize, analyze, and argue on their own is education. Deciding what conclusions are correct and then asking students to accept these conclusions as truth is thought control and creates dogma rather than innovation.
Schools: Columbia University