Horace Mann Censors Student PaperS

Dr. Andrew Trees, the author of a roman a clef about posh Riverdale prep school Horace Mann, remains fired from that institution. But his friends and former colleagues have rallied together on his behalf! Over 60 academics signed a letter to the editor of the Horace Mann Record—which was then prevented from publishing the letter by head of school Tom Kelly. Even new Record editor Elyssa Spitzer (yes, that's Eliot's daughter!) could not sway the discourse in the direction of free speech. The unprinted letter is after the jump.

Dear Editor,

We were shocked and disappointed that the Horace Mann school would dismiss a faculty member for writing a novel, and we applaud the many Horace Mann students who courageously and thoughtfully protested this action and advocated for academic freedom. This shows Horace Mann students at their finest.

We believe that academic freedom should be the cornerstone of an educational institution. In our own work and in our classrooms, we strive to create an environment where students and faculty are free to think critically. We believe this is crucial not just for our schools but for our country. As the Horace Mann student petition stated, "democracy is a primary ethical value that [can] be promoted and protected best through an educational system that respects academic freedom." We agree that a free and democratic society demands actively engaged citizens who are willing to question the world around them.

Given Horace Mann's reputation, we believed that the school would consider academic freedom a principle to be celebrated, rather than an action to be punished. Restrictions on academic freedom invariably have chilling effects. We can only imagine the impact this will have on the entire community at Horace Mann and the various ways it will now hinder the school's efforts to provide a free and challenging intellectual environment.

Sincerely,

Edward Ayers

President of the University of Richmond (beginning July 2007); Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History, University of Virginia; Recipient of the Bancroft Prize (2004), Albert J. Beveridge Award, and J. Willard Hurst Prize

Julian Bond

Professor, Department of History, University of Virginia; Chairman NAACP

Brian Balogh

Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professor of History; Co-Director American Political Development Program, University of Virginia

Eileen Boris

Professor and Hull Chair of Women's History and Affiliate Professor of History and Law and Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Recipient of the Philip Taft Prize (1994)

William Chafe

Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History; Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Duke University;

Katherine Charron

Assistant Professor of History, North Carolina State University

Paul Clemens

Professor of History; Chair of History Department, Rutgers University

Andrew Cohen

Assistant Professor of History, Syracuse University

Stephen Cushman

Professor of English, University of Virginia

Victoria de Grazia (HM Parent 2002)

Professor of History, Columbia University

John Dittmer

Professor Emeritus of History, Depauw University; Recipient of the Bancroft Prize (1994), Lilliam Smith Book Award (1993), McLemore Prize (1995), and the Herbert Gutman Prize (1994)

Greg Dorr

Postdoctoral Associate, Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jed Esty

Associate Professor of English, University of Illinois

Jon Earle

Associate Professor of History, University of Kansas; Ray Allen Billington Chair in U.S. History at Occidental College and the Huntington Library, 2006-2007

Ann Fabian (Former HM Parent)

Professor of American Studies and History, Chair of American Studies, Dean of Humanities, School of Arts and Sciences Rutgers University.

Eric Foner

DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University; President of the Society of American Historians (2006-2007); President, American Historical Association, 2000; President, Organization of American Historians, (1993-94); recipient of Los Angeles Times Book Award for History; Bancroft Prize; Parkman Prize; Lionel Trilling Award; Owsley Prize. Finalist, National Book Award; Finalist, National Book Critics' Circle Award

Susan Fraiman

Professor of English, University of Virginia

Joanne Freeman

Professor of History, Yale University

Scot French

Associate Professor of History, University of Virginia; Director of Virginia Center for Digital History

Paul Gaston

Professor Emeritus of Southern and Civil Rights History, University of Virginia

Gary Gallagher

John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, University of Virginia

Grace Hale

Associate Professor of History and American Studies, University of Virginia

Nancy Hewitt

Director, Institute for Research on Women; Professor of History, Rutgers University

Hugh Hochman

Associate Professor of French and Humanities, Reed College

Michael Holt

Williams Professor of History, University of Virginia

Woody Holton

Associate Professor of History, University of Richmond

Watson Jennison

Assistant Professor of History, University of North Carolina Greensboro

Stephen Kantrowitz

Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin

Temma Kaplan

Professor of History, Rutgers University

Peter Kastor

Assistant Professor of History; Assistant Professor of American Culture Studies, Washington University

Jennifer Klein

Associate Professor of History, Yale University; Recipient of the Ellis Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians (2004); Recipient of the Hagley Prize (2004)

Juliette Landphair

Dean of Westhampton College, University of Richmond

Ann Lane

Professor of History and Women's Studies

Steven F. Lawson

Professor of History, Rutgers University

Susana Michele Lee

Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

Adriane Lentz-Smith

Assistant Professor of History, Duke University

Marc Lerner (HM 1989)

Assistant Professor of History, University of Mississippi

Nicholas Lemann

Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

Andrew Lewis

Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Hamilton College

Matt Lassiter

Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

Nelson Lichtenstein

Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara; Recipient of the Philip Taft Prize (2003)

Danielle McGuire

Faculty, Horace Mann School

Allan Megill

Professor of History, University of Virginia; President, Journal of the History of Ideas

Paul Milazzo

Assistant Professor of History, Ohio University

Jennifer Morgan

Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

Andrew Morris

Assistant Professor of History, Union College

Amy Morsman

Assistant Professor of History, Middlebury College

Jenry Morsman

Adjunct Professor of History, Middlebury College

Stephen M. Norris

Assistant Professor of History and Director of Film Studies, Miami University

James Oakes

Professor of History and Humanities Chair, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Peter Onuf

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor, University of Virginia

Rosalind Rosenberg

Professor of History, Barnard College, Columbia University; Executive Board of the Society of American Historians

Joshua Rothman

Associate Professor of History, University of Alabama

Anne Rubin

Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Winner of the 2006 Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians

Reuel Schiller

Professor of Law, Hastings College of the Law, University of California

Peter Sheehy

Faculty, Horace Mann School

Herbert Sloan

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, Barnard College, Columbia University

Michael Socolow

Assistant Professor of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine

Doug Smith

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, 2006-2007; Assistant Professor of History, Occidental College

Emily Straus (HM 1991)

Assistant Professor of History, SUNY Fredonia

Alan Taylor

Professor of History, University of California at Davis; Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Prize, and Albert J. Beveridge Award (1996)

Scott Taylor

Assistant Professor of History, Siena College

Timothy Tyson (Book Day speaker and civil rights lecture at HM, 2005, 2006)

Senior Scholar, the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University; Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture, Duke Divinity School; Adjunct Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Philip Troutman

Assistant Professor of Writing, The George Washington University

Craig Werner (Keynote speaker for Book Day at HM, 2006)

Professor of Afro-American Studies, Chair of Integrated Liberal Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison