Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Score one for academic freedom


Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and one of the most accomplished thinkers, writers, and inventors of his time, believed his crowning achievement was the fathering of the University of Virginia.

This week, UVA took an action that would make a father proud. It made a foolish mistake and then showed the wisdom to correct it.

Last week, in an action accomplished without due process and without explanation, the school's Board of Visitors, UVA's quirky name for its governing directors, fired University President Teresa Sullivan. What was supposed to have been a quiet display of raw power became anything but. Tuesday, faculty and students and their newspaper learned that they, too, had power.

No one had even suggested that President Sullivan had failed UVA in any way. She appears to have been let go because she questioned whether cheap technology can actually cut the cost of a college education. The business leaders who now dominate the board were not happy with her lack of enthusiasm. In business, a lack of enthusiasm can cost you your job.

UVA, like universities across the country, receives fewer public dollars each year as states slash budgets. Online instruction has been held up as the cost-effective solution that will allow cuts without compromising the quality of the degrees conferred.

Academic institutions are exactly the right places for theories like this to be researched and debated. At its best, academia fosters an environment of freedom rather than fear and intimidation. At least in this skirmish at UVA, fear and intimidation lost.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.