[unisog] Academic Freedom

Jim Dillon Jim.Dillon at cusys.edu
Tue Oct 15 16:31:14 GMT 2002


Don't let them confuse "freedom" with a lack of responsibility.  Freedom is
accompanied by great responsibility, as it is destroyed when one person's
actions damage the "freedom" of another.  Doubt this and all you need to do
is ask folks in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area their thoughts about freedom
and responsibility right now. One or two grossly irresponsible person(s) has
taken away everyone's freedom. 

If your academic pursuit does not infringe on the rights and freedoms of
     at a local/department level
     at a college/university level
     at a community level
     at a national/federal level
     as defined by our democratic legislative mandates
     on a moral or ethical level

you should be able to pursue it, generally speaking.  James Martin's
response is really quite good, kudos to him, I hope he doesn't mind us
adopting his slide, I sure intend to.

My usual thought is that a researcher/professor who has the wherewithal to
protect his/her systems to the degree required for the rest of the system
(e.g. all layers of security sufficiently present) should be able to
implement that system.  That means they must be able to supply support and
maintenance, assurance, security in all its necessary flavors and layers,
planning, training for users, monitoring, and they must assure alignment
with the institutional mission/vision out of their own resources.  Otherwise
they are sharing resources with others and should therefore act within the
mutually beneficial and agreeable norms of that group.  I know of very few
departments that could even hope to achieve this level of performance with
their own resources.  Even with the resources, an individual or group must
be aware of their impact - a wireless implementation with the wrong channel
selections may interfere with the campus scheme.

If you can control parking rights, you should be able to control something
so infinitely more vital than 15-18 feet of sidewalk space.  Parking has not
succumbed to the all-enveloping argument of academic freedom.

Sorry no legal definition, but plenty of regulatory trump cards.  FERPA,
HIPAA, DMCA, ADA, Cyber Security/Homeland Security and privacy still to be
fleshed out ... 

Best wishes,


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Martin [mailto:bmartin at luc.edu]
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 10:02 AM
To: unisog at sans.org
Subject: [unisog] Academic Freedom

I'm sure at one time or another, we as admins have all implemented changes
which resulted in the reply of "your infringing on my academic freedom".
This seems to be a big issues when it comes to Internet access of any sort,
be is mail, web, file transferring/sharing, etc.

This for me posses a huge questions:
     "what defines academic freedom, both legally and philosophically"

I can easily see many zealots taking this to an extreme and conversely, I
can see the overly conservative closing down anything that is not presented
by a faculty member.  

Given this, how are other organizations approaching issues when this trump
card is played in order to prevent, reverse, or implement a change?

-Bill Martin-
Sr. Systems Analyst
Loyola University Chicago
bmartin at luc.edu

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