Headline RoundupFebruary 7th, 2023

Academic Freedom up for Debate After Hamline College Drama

AllSides Summary

Controversy surrounding an art history professor displaying a painting of the Islamic prophet Muhammad raises questions about academic freedom and cultural respect.

For Context: At Hamline University in Minnesota, a professor’s contract was not renewed after they showed a painting of Muhammad in an art history class, which led a Muslim student to complain. Hamline University President Fayneese Miller defended the college’s actions in a letter, stating, “fueled by commentary not well-informed on the particulars of this situation, we now find ourselves at the heart of a purported standoff between academic freedom and equity.” Visually depicting Muhammad is typically avoided in Muslim culture.

Writers across the spectrum agreed that the professor shouldn't be fired. One right-rated writer said that "if you don’t want your traditions, beliefs, or views challenged, then don’t come to a university." A writer in the American Spectator (Right Bias) concluded that “to limit free speech in order to avoid offending Muslims is, quite simply, to replace American constitutional liberty with a concept of freedom rooted in sharia.”

A piece in MSNBC also ridiculed the college’s actions, but criticized narratives from right-rated writers claiming the college gave into the “woke mob,” determining that “as often happens with academic dust-ups, it doesn’t track along a neat left/right axis.” The writer compared the incident to calls for religious freedom in schools from the Christian right, determining, “couldn’t our Christian Right get behind more respect for Religious Authority in the classroom by that same logic?”

Featured Coverage of this Story

More headline roundups

More News about Education from the Left, Center and Right

From the Left

From the Center

From the Right