Educational Problems in College and University: Addresses Delivered at the Educational Conference Held at the University of Michigan, October Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Twenty, on the Occasion of the Inauguration of President Marion Leroy Burton

By John Brumm Lewis | Go to book overview

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

ROBERT E. VINSON, LL.D. President of the University of Texas

Fortunately for the purpose of this discussion, little time need be spent in the definition of terms. The question of academic freedom has been agitated for more than a generation in America, its metes and bounds have been marked out and may now be said to be rather clearly understood by both the academic fraternity and the general public. The statement of President Schurman in an address before the National Association of State Universities in 1909 is perhaps as clear an expression as may be found of the ideal conditions under which an educational institution may be expected to do its best work. "The supreme test," he says, "is whether the people of the state will on the one hand tax themselves to support it (the state university) and on the other impose upon themselves a self-denying ordinance to leave it severly alone, so that it may select its own members by the application of its own intellectual standards and the members thus chosen may be absolutely free to investigate, to teach, and to publish whatever they believe to be the truth." This certainly puts the matter in clear not to say bald language, and at once squares the issue. It is well, however, that the same speaker at once proceeds to remark that "if our people do not already possess this conception of a university, they must be educated up to it, for a university can not flourish on any other condition," for I for one have no doubt that when the case is presented to the public in the manner referred to, it will induce an immediate unfavorable reaction upon the part of the people. They would unhesitatingly

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Educational Problems in College and University: Addresses Delivered at the Educational Conference Held at the University of Michigan, October Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Twenty, on the Occasion of the Inauguration of President Marion Leroy Burton
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