Many faculty retreated into academic specializations and an arcane language that made them irrelevant to the task of defending the university as a public good, except for in some cases a very small audience. This has become more and more clear in the last few years as academics have become so insular, often unwilling or unable to defend the university as a public good, in spite of the widespread attacks on academic freedom, the role of the university as a democratic public sphere, and the increasing reduction of knowledge to a saleable commodity, and students to customers.
I also believe that academic freedom should protect the right of a professor or student to advocate Marxism, socialism, communism, or any other minority viewpoint - no matter how distasteful to the majority, provided...
Academic freedom really means freedom of inquiry. To be able to probe according to one's own interest, knowledge and conscience is the most important freedom the scholar has, and part of that process is to state its results.
While the universities are increasingly corporatized and militarized, their governing structures are becoming more authoritarian, faculty are being devalued as public intellectuals, students are viewed as clients, academic fields are treated as economic domains for providing credentials, and work place skills, and academic freedom is under assault.
The most important aspect of freedom of speech is freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue - questions and answers that pursue every problem on the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom.
Churchmen are quick to defend religious freedom; lawyers were never so universally aroused as by President Roosevelt's Court bill; newspapers are most alert to civil liberties when there is a hint of press censorship in the air. And educators become perturbed at every effort to curb academic freedom. But too seldom do all of these become militant when ostensibly the rights of only one group are threatened. They do not always react to the truism that when the rights of any individual or group are chipped away, the freedom of all erodes.
I think the impacts of 9/11 on academic freedom vary greatly depending on locale and time (softening with the passage of time), and even within the same community, and likely within the same schools. This variability makes it difficult to offer generalized responses without accompanying caveats.
By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what on has recognized to be true. It is evident that any restriction on academic freedom acts in such a way as to hamper the dissemination of knowledge among the people and thereby impedes national judgment and action.