When Dwight Eisenhower began his tenure as president of Columbia University in 1948, he was immediately thrust into a controversy. The university had appointed renowned scholar Manfred Kridl as an endowed chair for the study of Polish language and literature. The position was funded by the Polish government, but the Polish-American Congress claimed that it was part of a Russian “academic infiltration” campaign and demanded that the funding be rejected.
Eisenhower was new to academia, but did not shy away from the public debate. He stood squarely in defence of academic freedom, saying at his inauguration that “there will be no administrative suppression or distortion of any subject that merits a place in this university’s curriculum. The facts of communism, for example, shall be taught here…no intellectual iron curtain shall screen students from disturbing facts.”
Read the full piece at Times Higher Education.