In response to recent media accounts referencing Professor Juan Cole, the University of Michigan has shared the following statement by U-M Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Phil Hanlon:
Professor Cole is a renowned Middle East scholar and popular teacher. He is a long time valued member of the university community.
In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Cole is active in the public arena, freely sharing his views on developments in the Middle East. While Professor Cole's views are his own, the University steadfastly and unequivocally stands behind the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. Free expression of views is essential to dynamic dialogue and debate.
Recently, President Coleman, Edward Rothman, Chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Affairs and I commented publicly on the University's commitment to principle of academic freedom:http://www.umich.edu/pres/speech/letter/110419freedom.php
"Protecting students' and the faculty's right to pursue lines of inquiry and express ideas without fear of reprisal is fundamental to the University's core missions of research and education. The pursuit of answers, however unpopular, cannot be constricted if we are to remain a place of open and vigorous debate.
The standard of academic freedom is incorporated throughout the fabric of the University. The principles of academic freedom are ones we will always uphold and defend." (April 19, 2011)
The University will be closely watching developments in this case.