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CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 2000

Academic Freedom Protest in Vermont

Faculty members from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and other states converged early in May on Bennington, Vermont, to protest faculty firings and curbs on academic freedom at Bennington College. The American Association of University Professors sponsored the event. "The purpose was to call national attention to the collapse of basic academic values that occurs when faculty voices are silenced," said Mary Burgan, general secretary of the association. Burgan said that in the six years since tenure was abolished "the college has experienced not only a continuing onslaught against the faculty, but also a disregard for the faculty's role in academic decision making, increasingly centralised control of the campus, and an atmosphere that stifles constructive criticism."