I hate the misuse of the term “academic freedom.” The latest example is in David Horowitz’s blog today. He claims that anti-Republican jokes by liberal professors and grad assistants violates “the academic freedom of college students,” namely conservative ones, because it makes them less likely to speak their minds.
No, it does not.
Academic freedom exists to protect scholars who engage in controversial research or espouse unconventional opinions. College students, certainly undergraduates, don’t have academic freedom; professors do. When instructors introduce their partisan political viewpoints in class, it has a potential chilling effect on student speech, and should therefore be avoided. Although, to be honest, I’m not even convinced of the extent of the chilling effect–most conservative pundits, Insta- or otherwise, seem to have survived our exposure to leftist professors with our viewpoints intact.