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Students fight for rights

June 22, 2006

According to Sara Dothan, campus director for Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), students at more than 150 campuses across the country have started SAF chapters to fight for the passage of an academic bill of rights.

The organization is growing rapidly and having an impact on campuses, Dothan said.

“One of the biggest effects is to make students start to think about and debate these issues,” she said. “Even those professors who don’t really agree with us are forced to think about these issues.

“They have to confront themselves, and ask, are they really being fair in their teaching? Are they really preserving their students’ academic freedom?” she added.

SAF is part of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, a non-profit group headed by the writer and social activist, David Horowitz.

The organization comes to the aid of students who come under fire because they don’t go along with a professor’s ideology.

Several Pennsylvania colleges and universities have SAF chapters, including Drexel University, Haverford College, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn State University.

Princeton University in New Jersey also has a chapter, which won a referendum to pass a student bill of rights in a close vote — 51.8 percent of the student body voted in favor.

“A lot of people tried, incorrectly, to characterize this as a ‘radical, right-wing conservative,’ movement, but it’s not at all,” Dothan said. “It’s about academic freedom for all students, and anybody who reads the Princeton bill will see that...

Schools: Princeton University Cases: Princeton University: Refusal to Recognize Religious Group