Question was not academic freedom

Updated 6/29/2020 9:39 AM

My comments on the column by Debra J. Saunders on June 16, claiming the end of academic freedom. To begin with, I question the dedication of a professor who bases an entire semester of study on a single examination. As a former university administrator, I believe using a single test grade to indicate a student's learning over an entire semester is an indication of professorial laziness.

Teachers, including university professors, who do not periodically assess student understanding of their lessons, in my opinion, are not doing their jobs.


Good teachers continually evaluate the rate of student comprehension of their presentations with paper and pencil methods.

However, I guess my thought about the professor's action in the classroom is besides the point. The entire problem of excusing or not excusing students because they participated in Black Lives Matter protests could have been avoided by simply giving students who asked for an extension an Incomplete for the course until such time a test is completed to the professor's satisfaction. There was no need to ever involve questions of race.

There is a present need for all of us to be flexible and think about the ramifications of any action taken at times of social and medical unrest. It is not, as Saunders claims, that there is a belief that students know more than the faculty and that faculty should never talk back. None of this ridiculous situation would have occurred if the professor and the administration had taken time to think through the question.

The lesson here is not that academic freedom has ended, rather the lesson is that we all must be willing to listen and adjust when important situations interfere with the learning process.

Harry Trumfio

Arlington Heights

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