Stanford’s current Statement on Academic Freedom was adopted by the Faculty Senate in April 1974 with little fanfare. The “unusual and possibly unique” statement, as the faculty/staff newspaper characterized it, passed on a voice vote without dissent.
Which is not to suggest that its prologue had been pro forma. Only 18 months earlier, a companion policy, the Statement on Faculty Discipline, had inspired fierce debate about how to safeguard against administrative overreach. Mail-in ballots were sent to the entire professoriate and the measure passed on a divided vote, 442 to 349. Heightening some professors’ unease was the recent—and to this day, only—dismissal of a tenured faculty member, H. Bruce Franklin, PhD ’61, an associate professor of English who was accused of making antiwar speeches that incited lawbreaking and violence.
The faculty disciplinary statement has long since been overhauled. But the 1974 Statement on Academic Freedom endures. “Stanford University’s central functions of teaching, learning, research, and scholarship depend upon an atmosphere in which freedom of inquiry, thought, expression, publication, and peaceable assembly are given the fullest protection,” it begins. “Expression of the widest range of viewpoints should be encouraged, free from institutional orthodoxy and from internal or external coercion.”
Kathy Zonana, ’93, JD ’96, is the editor of Stanford. Email her at email@example.com.
Vintage 1973 Collection
Stanford is 50! It turns out we’re not the only one. Walk with us down memory lane as we sample some of the wonders and horrors of the 1973–74 academic year on the Farm, and in the world around.