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Controversy and Academic Freedom Essay Assignment

The principle of academic freedom is essential to university life. The college classroom is a venue in which current issues in society, culture, and politics, etc., may be examined and analyzed. Often such issues are controversial and arouse heated debate; proponents of academic freedom feel that these conversations are useful, if not necessary, in the pursuit of knowledge and truth — as long as the participants enter into discussion in the spirit of fairness, integrity, and tolerance.

What current CONTROVERSIAL issue would YOU like to see as the object of classroom discussion and/or debate?
Think of a single, particular issue or question which is important to YOU and which you would like to see analyzed and discussed in the classroom. (I am speaking of the college classroom in general, not specifically our classroom; your issue does not have to relate to the course material of your classes.) The more focused and specific your issue is, the better your discussion will be.
The current issue may be one about which you simply would like to know more. But it should be an issue which you feel people are discouraged from talking about because it is controversial or taboo. The issue should be an important one, generally, and it should be important to YOU.

Write an essay (Intro, Body, Conclusion format) of three (3) FULL pages, typed double-spaced, standard size margins and font, in which you: identify the issue, discuss it in some detail and give some background about it. It is perfectly acceptable to write from the first person perspective (“I”).

Research Component: You must CONSULT three (3) research sources about the issue, but you do NOT need to quote from them; but obviously if you paraphrase text or ideas from a source, you must cite the source. The reason for consulting sources is that it will make you a more informed writer and speaker on the issue. Thus, if you do it well, your research will “show” in the informed, conscious discussion you make in your paper. You MUST include a “Works Consulted” page (page 4) at the end of your essay, in which you list the three sources, arranged in MLA style.

In this essay, you should:
-Explain what the issue is and why it is important and to whom it is important.
-Discuss the reason(s) why the issue is controversial.
-If the issue is one that people are discouraged from talking about because it is “taboo,” explain why, and tell why it is important to talk about it.
-Discuss why silence about the issue has a negative effect upon people and society. Tell how open and free discussion about the issue would have a positive effect upon people and society. Tell why this is important.
-Tell why you think it is important for college students to have an understanding of the issue and why it is important to discuss it in the classroom.

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