A movement is afoot to restore our universities’ lost sense of purpose. Unfortunately, its leadership is hostile to liberal education. The movement goes by several names: “educating the whole person,” “the residential life revolution” and “the student learning imperative.” These are the Imperativists, who view the university as an instrument of progressive social change.
College and university authorities should respond to instances of genuine sexual harassment firmly and immediately. It cannot be tolerated. However, academic freedom and the rights of individuals are violated when institutions adopt vague and arbitrary definitions of harassment that can be applied to attitudes or even to a scholar's professional views. Such practices stifle academic discussions of sensitive but legitimate topics. Worse, procedures have been widely adopted that violate the canons of due process, with the result that reputations and careers of the innocent have suffered.