From: Daniel Kuespert <0000057d3b6cd9b7-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**LISTS.PRINCETON.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Academic freedom?
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2018 06:38:23 -0500
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: D222B4CA-2265-4987-939E-D402E81FDEB9**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <6E6ABF90-4C76-4F78-84C6-A1823E566F93**At_Symbol_Here**>

Ghastly. I get variations on the "academic freedom" and "I am an expert in this research area therefore I am an expert on this research area's safety" arguments all the time.

The idea that scholars should have unrestricted "freedom to communicate ideas or facts without being targeted for imprisonment," etc. is ridiculous. Such an over-broad interpretation of academic freedom basically gives carte blanche for faculty members to engage in risky behaviors and subject their students (or even the public) to the same risks. Dr. Thrasher does not have the "academic freedom" to teach his students to dispense LN barehanded, as the caption for the photo states he is doing. That doing so is safe is not a "fact,", but it is an idea-one that he has a positive ethical and legal responsibility not to foster.

No one has the right in a civil society to disseminate ideas that are potentially physically injurious to others-if someone gets hurt or killed, the authorities can interpret it as anything from reckless endangerment to depraved-heart murder. Academic freedom is limited by the same factors that limit other freedoms-particularly other people's right to be free from injury or death. Recall the old saying, "your right to swing your fist stops where my nose begins."

Daniel Reid Kuespert, PhD, CSP
11101 Wood Elves Way
Columbia, MD 21044

On Dec 27, 2018, at 11:41 AM, Ralph Stuart <000005bc294e9212-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**LISTS.PRINCETON.EDU> wrote:

This is an interesting case study for those of us overseeing academic laboratories.

The article above includes an interesting take on academic freedom. Wikipedia describes academic freedom as
"Academic freedom is the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment."

The story doesn't indicate that any of those consequences are likely as a result of the University's action. The professor's case that he operates safely would probably be stronger if he wasn't pictured dispensing liquid nitrogen barehanded as part of the story...

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO

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