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For the record: AAUP Chapter President to Chair of Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee

On Apr 20, 2011, at 9:51 PM, Naomi Scheman wrote:

Dear Professor Elliott,

I'm writing as the president of the University's AAUP chapter to
convey a concern about the Committee's discussion of issues arising
from the Markingson case. It is unclear what the academic freedom
issues are, since, one would assume, defamatory speech is not
protected and non-defamatory speech is.
The questions at issue in this
case turn on whether what has been reported is, in fact, defamatory;
and a necessary first step in determining that is determining whether
what was reported is or is not true. What we have at this point are
two conflicting claims about that question. What I find disturbing is
that some of the discussion at the last meeting seemed to be presuming
that the claims made against the researchers were false; but the
committee cannot work on that highly prejudicial presumption-- it is
precisely what is at issue in the case.

I understand that the general questions raised by this case (whatever
they might be) are to be taken up again by the committee, and I trust
that, as chair of the committee, you will be careful that there is not
a presumption being made about the truth or falsity of the charges in
this particular case.

Sincerely,

Naomi Scheman
Professor of Philosophy
President, University of Minnesota chapter of the AAUP

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