Last week a student in a 200-level graphic novel course (and her parents) challenged four texts : Fun Home by Alison Bechdel; Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1 by Brian Vaughan; The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman; and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Challenger Tara Schultz noted, “It was shocking,” Shultz said. “I didn’t expect to open the book and see that graphic material within. I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography.” Fortunately, the Crafton Hills College campus (California) refused to censor the novels.
Yesterday, the AAUP censured the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for revoking the tenured appointment of Steven Salaita to the American Indian studies program after comments he made on Twitter regarding Israel. AAUP’s Committee A argued, “Not only had Salaita been selected by a faculty committee, [but] a professor’s political expressions on social media are protected speech and have no bearing on his ability to teach or do research.”
“Uncivil,” yes, but while challenges to academic freedom persist, as ReLeah Lent notes in The Council Chronicle interview, “NCTE works diligently against censorship through its Intellectual Freedom Center.”