Academic Freedom petition exceeds 1000 signatures

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In less than 10 days, our Petition in support of UC Librarians and Academic Freedom has garnered over 1000 signatures.

About half of the signatures are from faculty, librarians, students, staff and alumni of the University of California. The rest are from fellow librarians and faculty from around the country and across the globe – see the signature map above, which omits additional signatures from the EU and Australia. Plus, the petition has been shared on facebook over a thousand times, and has been viewed around 13,000 times. These numbers, and this sample of comments taken from the petition, demonstrate how important this issue is to fellow professionals in California and beyond, and how much damage the UC administration is doing to our ability to recruit principled professionals.

“The most important aspect of freedom of speech is freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue – questions and answers that pursue every problem on the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom.” – William O. Douglas – comment from Omar Carrillo, UC Santa Barbara

Academic freedom and faculty status are rights deserving of all academic librarians, as is the case for librarians working in the California State University system and the California Community Colleges system – Kenny Garcia, Research and Instruction Librarian, CSU Monterey Bay

Academic freedom is essential for librarians. – Patrick McCarthy, Dean, San Diego State University

Academic freedom has been integral to my career as a librarian (at both institutions where I was faculty and where I was not) as it made me feel safe enough to speak truth to power when necessary, follow my research interests, and teach without fear. Whether faculty or not, librarians are vital academics who research, publish, present their research, and teach throughout the curriculum. The idea that academic freedom is not a good fit for librarians is patently absurd and it denigrates the valuable work UC librarians do to educate students and to improve our profession and our world through their research. – Meredith Farkas, Librarian, Portland Community College

Academic freedom is as necessary in academic libraries as it is in every other discipline on campus. In fact, UC libraries are core to research in all disciplines, making academic freedom within our libraries of the utmost importance. We urge you to rethink your decision. – J. Elizabeth Abbott-Grasso, Alumnus, UC Davis

Academic Freedom is something I greatly value in my position as a librarian at Regis University. It allows me to contribute to my environment and my community from my unique professional perspective; a perspective that my administration values and supports. I believe that UC Librarians should be offered the same opportunity. – Amy Belotti, Digital Content Librarian, Regis University

Are you serious? – Jennifer Eagan, Professor, CSU East Bay

As a former UC Librarian, I am simply appalled that this is still an issue. As members of academic staff who are central to the university’s mission of teaching, learning and research it is essential that Librarians enjoy the full scope of academic freedom. This is a just and reasonable demand and the university should explicitly recognize these basic rights in the contract. – Samuel Trosow, Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario

As a graduate of the UC system (PhD in Political Science from Berkeley, 1993) I am shocked to learn that there is any debate regarding whether librarians should have academic freedom. Obviously they need full academic freedom to do their jobs. – Karen Kampwirth, Robert W. Murphy Professor of Political Science, Knox College

As a librarian previously employed by UC Irvine, I implore you to rethink your decision and to grant academic freedom to my colleagues. Librarianship deserves the same protections as any academic faculty, and your denial of it amounts to denial of not only personal freedom, but also of the freedom to explore new ideas that are essential to the growth of new scholarship. – Bethany Arellano, Head of ILL Borrowing, University of Colorado Boulder

As an alumna of UCSB and proud friend and colleague to UCSB libraries, I am appalled that UC administration would attempt to deny academic freedom to those who are such an integral part of maintaining academic freedom for the rest of campus. Respect your librarians, UC, and afford them the protections they deserve! – S C Kaplan, Lecturer, Rice University

Attacks on librarians usually come from rightwing zealots, not from university administrations. As professionals working to produce new research and advance knowledge, librarians must have the same freedoms as other academic workers. Administrators must end their attacks on the people who make the university work. – Howard Winant, Distinguished Professor, UC Santa Barbara

I do not understand why this is in dispute. Does this mean that UC negotiators (whoever they are) believe librarians, but not professors (or students) can be fired /expelled for speaking out against the administration? – John Pearse, Professor Emeritus, UC Santa Cruz

Librarians are key members of the university community whose labor and expertise reinvigorate the intellectual, teaching, and research missions of the UC. I have worked closely with librarians as a student, researcher, and faculty member, and think it is unconscionable that they do not have the right of academic freedom. – Jean-Paul deGuzman, Lecturer, UCLA

Librarians and archivists are valuable members of our campus communities. They contribute immeasurably to cutting-edge research and high-quality teaching and learning. Their training, skills, and labor on campuses is central to advancing the core mission of the public research university. Librarians deserve academic freedom! – Alex Kulick, PhD Candidate, UC Santa Barbara

“Academic Freedom is not a good fit for your unit.” Really? This is really outrageous for a university administration to say to its employees who work at the Library! If there is no academic freedom for our librarians, there will not be academic freedom in our library collections. Is the administration trying to shape the contents of the books we find in our stacks? – Baki Tezcan, Associate Professor of History, UC Davis

Librarians are an essential part of research and teaching at UCLA. Without the libraries, we are just a shadow of a university. – Tobias Higbie, Professor, UCLA

Librarians are critical to the teaching mission at any university. Of course, Academic Freedom is a good fit for their unit. – Lorna Zukas, Professor, National University

Librarians ARE faculty in all essential meanings of that term. They are so recognized by AAUP. Please do not discriminate against them. – Mary Furner, Professor Emerita, UC Santa Barbara

Librarians should not be vulnerable to political pressures that come upon the university, especially in these times of “free speech” campaigns and anti-public education organizing. If they are not protected, they can easily become scapegoats for an administration under pressure. – Joseph Kellner, Lecturer, UC Berkeley

Of course librarians need the protection of academic freedom in order to perform their jobs! – Leslie Salzinger, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

Librarians need academic freedom, same as faculty and students. They are important and valued members of the UC campuses and need the same rights to academic freedom without which they cannot carry out their work effectively. – Virginia Jansen, Professor Emerita of History of Art & Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz

Protecting academic freedom for librarians protects that right for all of us. – Rachel Morello-Frosch, Professor, UC Berkeley

The Davis library preserves the Guantanamo Testimonials Project I directed for many years. Don’t you think, in this day and age, that they need to be granted academic freedom to preserve it, organize it, and display it as they see fit? I certainly do. – Almerindo Ojeda, Emeritus Professor, UC Davis

The libraries of the UC system are great libraries because our wonderful librarians are ALSO professors, researchers and scholars in their own right: they teach classes regularly, organize exhibits and even research and publish scholarly articles and books, though mostly without appropriate institutional support and on their spare time. This is what gives them their added value and competitive edge when they chose books for our library collections : from being scholars in their own fields of research as well, our librarians know what to buy for other teachers and scholars.FOR ALL OF THESE REASONS, AND TO PRESERVE THE GREATNESS OF ALL THE WONDERFUL LIBRARIES IN THE UC SYSTEM, AS WELL AS THE DIGNITY OF OUR LIBRARIANS AS PROFESSORS AND SCHOLARS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, UCOP ***MUST*** FINALLY AWARD THEM FULL ACADEMIC FREEDOM !!! – Déborah Blocker, Associate Professor of French, UC Berkeley

I used to work for the UC system but left because I felt librarian research was not supported. Librarians need Academic Freedom to effect change on behalf of themselves and the communities they work with. – Chelsea Heinbach, Assistant Professor & Teaching and Learning Librarian, UNLV

Librarians are on the frontlines of shared governance today: recognizing their academic freedom is not only just and fair, but also urgent and necessary. – Claudio Fogu, Associate Professor of Italian, UC Santa Barbara

Librarians deal with sensitive and vital topics in the academy: truth, validity, verification. They manage collections of resources for topics that may be challenged by those with the power to do so. To not extend Academic Freedom to librarians would be an illustration of how little UC understands their roles and their risks….they absolutely deserve the same protections as teaching or research faculty. – Jason Griffey, Research Fellow, MetaLAB at Harvard

Librarians do play an important role in the university, and are in a position where they could be attacked unfairly in the course of exercising their professional duties. It seems reasonable to extend academic freedom protections to them. – Emily Moran, Assistant Professor, UC Merced







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