Eli Capilouto

Open Inquiry is Essential in Higher Education

Published: Jan 14, 2014

A college campus – perhaps more than anywhere else – is a cherished crucible for the free exchange of ideas and beliefs.

 

This is a fundamental characteristic when you consider that our faculty and staff are charged with developing new scholarship, and our students are at an age when their civic and personal philosophies are evolving. Over time, these necessary attributes of a campus have been challenged, debated and protected. Though honoring it can be demanding at times, our commitment to academic freedom, fostered in a safe and respectful environment, is at the core of our work in a university community. It is who we are.

 

Recently, I was reminded again of that fundamental tension as members of the American Studies Association (ASA) endorsed a resolution boycotting Israeli academic institutions for that country’s policies toward Palestine. The proposed boycott has elicited strong responses from other professional organizations in the academy -- ranging from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to institutional organizations such as the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Administrators and faculty -- individually and collectively -- at several colleges and universities also have engaged in the debate.

 

Their statements clearly indicate a national dialogue, one happening on college and university campuses like ours.  I disagree with the ASA’s resolution to boycott academic institutions in Israel.

 

The values of inquiry and discourse in American academia – applied within a scholar’s responsibilities as an academic – reflect the foundation and principles of our system of higher education.  

 

As institutions of higher learning, in particular, we are tasked with producing independent, testable scholarship, while educating the next generation of civic and business leaders. If we hope to advance our own understanding of the world around us, a scholar’s capacity to build a body of work in his or her field must run unimpeded by politics and external forces. At the heart of that process is the idea that many voices -- sometimes in harmony, sometimes discordant -- are critical to education and community.

 

Our capacity to foster constructive dialogue is at the core of what we do at the University of Kentucky. We should resist at all times temptations -- or voices -- that call on us to circumscribe or inhibit that dialogue. No matter where such temptation comes from, or however well-intentioned it may be, it is a self-defeating proposition.

 

We are better than that.

February
1
 
Sun
2
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Mon
3
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tue
4
LNFS Presents: Groundhog Day
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Massage on the Go #1
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Internship Info Session
Wed
5
LNFS Presents: Interstellar
LNFS Presents: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Thu
6
LNFS Presents: Songcatcher
LNFS Presents: Wall-E
Cultural Coffee Hour
Fri
7
 
Sat
8
 
Sun
9
 
Mon
10
Employer Showcase: Day 1 Technical Career Fair
Job Club: Successful Telephone Interview/Screening Tips and How to Choose & Prep your Professional References
Tue
11
LNFS Presents: Caddyshack
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Employer Showcase: Day 2 Non-Technical Career Fair
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
Wildcat Wednesday
#TrendingTopics: Space Exploration
Wed
12
LNFS Presents: Taxi Driver
LNFS Presents: Gone Girl
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Legal Planning
Thu
13
LNFS Presents: The Great Gatsby
Cultural Coffee Hour
Fri
14
 
Sat
15
 
Sun
16
 
Mon
17
LNFS Presents: Dear White People
Tue
18
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: Wreck-It Ralph
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Wed
19
LNFS Presents: Nightcrawler
LNFS Presents: Ip Man
Celebration at UK vs Texas A & M Women’s Basketball Game, Memorial Coliseum
Thu
20
LNFS Presents: The Bang Bang Club
Cultural Coffee Hour
Fri
21
Celebration at UK vs Auburn Men’s Basketball Game
Sat
22
 
Sun
23
Convocation
Mon
24
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Job Club: Interview Strategies from the Other Side of the Table
Tue
25
LNFS Presents: Inception
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Fellows Founders Week Luncheon
Wed
26
LNFS Presents: The Birds
LNFS Presents: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1
Guest Lecture: President Emeritus Mark Yudof of the University of California – Berkley
Thu
27
LNFS Presents: Superbad
LNFS Presents: Little Shop of Horrors
Cultural Coffee Hour
The Blue Tie Bash
Fri
28
 
Sat

Mon, 02/02/2015

Tue, 02/03/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 02/04/2015

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