Stanley Fish, Divestment, and "The Student Assault on the Academy"

National Association of Scholars

Stanley Fish, an early critic of NAS, recently published a piece on the campus divestment movement in the Huffington Post titled, "Divesting from Fossil Fuels: The Student Assault on the Academy." He advocates a non-political university, one that is a bastion of academic freedom removed from the political scrum. His return to the topic was in part prompted by our latest report, Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement to Turn a Generation Against Fossil FuelsThe campus divestment movement is but one of many battlegrounds over the university's purpose. Fish writes,

Now, shaming the fossil fuel industry might very well be a good thing to do (I am not going to pronounce on the substantive question), but it is not an academically good thing to do. [...] Saving the world from fossil fuels is not a pedagogical goal and doesn't belong either in the classroom or in the mission statement of a university.

It is encouraging for NAS, an organization dedicated to fair, open, rigorous debate, to share a common goal with one of its former detractors. Earlier this year, Fish offered praise for NAS's previous report on sustainability (2015), commending its "comprehensiveness, clarity and tone," as well as its detail and respect for those "on the other side."  

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