Academic freedom of students impaired
Letter to the Editor
My disappointment with the response of Provost Nathan Hatch to the Faculty Senate's questions about the academic freedom of students has a very simple basis. Both the "Mission Statement of the University of Notre Dame," and Article III, section 2 of the Academic Articles of this University (see "Faculty Handbook," 2000-01) guarantee the academic freedom of the University's students.
Such guarantees appear nowhere in du Lac, and the University's current practices in hearing complaints that student organizations have "contravened the moral teaching of the Catholic Church" afford no consideration to the principle that students come to Notre Dame to engage in Socratic questioning of the foundations of their religious belief. To suggest that such learning can go on only within the classroom is to suggest that such questioning is nothing but a sterile academic exercise.
The Provost reminded the Faculty Senate that opinion research indicates Notre Dame students value their residence life experiences at Notre Dame more highly than they value their academic experience. Rectors remind faculty that Residence Halls provide a haven in the heartless world of academic challenges. Undergraduate education at Notre Dame takes place in a house divided against itself. That's enough disappointment for one night.
February 7, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Thursday, February 8, 2001