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Tuesday, June 16, 2015


For those interested, my essay in Atrium Bad Girls issue edited by Alice Dreger continues to have a  ripple effect. Today FIRE weighed in with a press statement. Please note the issue of branding. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other large institutions have embraced the "brand" in the last decade or more. One does not go to rehabilitation centers one can go to rejuvination centers. Yes rehabilitation can be called rejuvenation just as nursing homes are now"branded" as long term rehabilitation centers. Branding is nothing more than a slick advertising. Oh, how I wonder what my father would think of this as he spent his entire career in advertising. Part of this advertising is to produce glossy magazines that sell the hospital, a specialization in a particular type of surgery, or a focus in rehabilitation. If you are thinking inspiration you are spot on correct. The story in bold print, replete with high quality photographs that  proclaim "Paralyzed at 18 Now Walking Two Years Later".  You get the idea--miracles do happen--but you must come to our facility. That is what Atrium can be turned into. At this point branding has completely saturated the rehabilitation culture. An essay like mine that illustrates rehabilitation is first and foremost gritty hard work. I often joke I want to name a rehabilitation center "Shit and Piss" for once you control or have a handle on those two bodily functions anything is possible. This is not a brand people embrace. It is my hope Atrium will remain what it has always been: an eclectic high quality academic journal known for pushing the edge. Let's hope Northwestern gets a better grasp on academic freedom.

Link: Below is a part of the statement. Use link to read the below in its entirety.

Northwestern Risks Academic Freedom (Again) by Censoring Bioethics Journal with ‘Bad Girls’ Theme 
June 16, 2015
CHICAGO, June 16, 2015—Academic freedom is apparently no longer a part of Northwestern University’s “brand.” For over 14 months, administrators at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) censored Atrium—a faculty-produced bioethics journal—because an issue featured content with a “Bad Girls” theme deemed too salacious for the university’s image. Northwestern is now requiring that future journal content be reviewed by university administrators prior to its publication.
This is the second time in less than a month that Northwestern finds itself at the center of an academic freedom controversy over issues of sex and gender. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIREwrote to Northwestern on May 26, calling on the university to honor its promises of academic freedom and cease its repeated intrusions on Atrium’s editorial independence. The university has yet to respond.
“The ability to explore controversial subjects lies at the heart of academic freedom,” said Peter Bonilla, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “Northwestern cannot promise ‘full freedom in research and in the publication of the results’ while limiting that freedom to protect its ‘brand.’ A university’s brand should be the unfettered search for truth, not politically motivated censorship.”

1 comment:

bill nunez said...

I just read your "Head Nurses" essay. It's not a surprise that it is controversial, but I find its censoring completely appalling. If we can't acknowledge all the "private" issues that real people encounter on a daily basis within the context of academia, how are we to find less controversial solutions? These real problems don't disappear as a result of our pretending they don't exist.

The good news is that I know about your essay as a result of the censorship, so the conversation is happening whether they like it or not. Keep up the good fight.