Nota Bene

01 August 2005

Academic freedom at stake

The Academic Freedom Committee has expressed its grave concern at the deportation of Professor Ken Good from Botswana by the President of that country, exercising his powers as head of state in terms of the Botswana Constitution. A statement reads: "In the absence of any reasons being disclosed by the President for this drastic action, we must conclude that Professor Good, an Australian political scientist, who has taught at the University of Botswana for fifteen years, was deported because of his strong criticism of the lack of democracy in Botswana.

"He has done this through his academic writings and activities, so it seems inescapable that his deportation amounts to an attack on academic freedom. The Academic Freedom Committee appeals to the leadership in the higher education sector in South Africa and Botswana to persuade the President to review his decision, and calls on all involved in higher education to remain vigilant on all threats to academic freedom in southern Africa."

Public debate on campus

The Academic Freedom Committee is concerned about the dampening effect that unfounded charges of racism have on campus debate about important university and social issues in which race is or is perceived to be an element. The committee regards this as a threat to the free exchange of ideas. In order to foster an environment in which open debate can take place, the Academic Freedom Committee urges:

  • members of the university community not to level ill-considered and unfounded accusations of racism, particularly in response to differences of opinion
  • those members of the university community who are witness to ill-considered and unfounded accusations of racism to speak out promptly against such labelling
  • those members of the university community who are victims of unfounded charges of racism to lodge a complaint with the University Discrimination and Harassment Office (tel: 650-3530).

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