The University of Michigan Senate's Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom was established in 1990 to honor three professors.:
Clement L. Markert (left)
Mark Nickerson (center), and
H. Chandler Davis (right),
"Keeping in Mind: The McCarthy Era at the University of Michigan"
The classic video documentary "Keeping in Mind: The McCarthy Era at the University of Michigan" by Adam E. Kulakow is now available to stream in its entirety.
Click here to see the full version:
Click here to see a 10 minute trailer:
In 1954 the University of Michigan suspended and then terminated Professors H. Chandler Davis and Mark Nickerson, a tenured faculty member, and suspended but then reinstated Professor Clement L. Markert for their refusal to give testimony during a visit to Michigan of a group from the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities. National American Association of University Professors (AAUP) censured the University in 1957 and, after a new Regents' Bylaw, 5.09, was adopted, removed censure in 1958. In 1988 Wilbert J. McKeachie, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, published an article, Reminiscences of the 1950's, in the University of Michigan AAUP Chapter Newsletter that reviewed in detail the treatment of Davis, Markert and Nickerson at the University of Michigan during the 1950's. David Hollinger, former Professor of History at the University, also wrote an account of these events for the 1988 Centennial Celebration Bulletin of the Rackham Graduate School. Adam E. Kulakow, an L. S. & A. undergraduate at the time, elected to prepare a 90 minute video presentation based upon these accounts for his undergraduate honors dissertation. This video presentation, Keeping in Mind: The McCarthy Era at The University of Michigan, was shown publicly for the first time on April 9, 1989, to a large audience in the Natural Science Auditorium 4 that included the three professors.
At the time of the first presentation of Keeping in Mind, a member of the audience suggested that the University be asked to make amends for its treatment of the three professors in 1954. The University of Michigan Chapter of the AAUP pursued this matter, contacted various University officials, hoping that they would encourage the Regents to take appropriate action, and finally sent a proposal to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) on October 25, 1989. The University's Senate Assembly endorsed the proposal on February 19, 1990. When it became clear that the Regents would not take action, the Senate Assembly on November 19, 1990, passed a resolution that deeply regretted "the failure of the University Community to protect the values of intellectual freedom" in 1954 and established the annual University of Michigan Senate's Markert, Nickerson, Davis Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom.
At the same meeting, the Senate Assembly established an Academic Freedom Lecture Fund (AFLF). As the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs sought donations for the AFLF, the national AAUP and the Board of its Academic Freedom Fund authorized a matching grant of $5000 to the AFLF. On February 18, 1991, the first Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture was given by Robert M. O' Neil, General Counsel of the national AAUP, Professor of Law, and Past President of the University of Virginia. The three professors were present and participated in a panel discussion after the lecture. Adam E. Kulakow, whose video had such an impact, was also present.
On June 10, 1991, the AFLF was established as an independent, tax-exempt organization. The constitution of the AFLF describes the organization as one that supports public lectures on academic freedom, wherever they might be given. The AFLF relies on contributions from the public in order to continue to support such activities. In addition to contributions from individuals, the AFLF has received financial support from the Academic Freedom Fund of the national AAUP; from the Professors' Fund For Educational Issues, affiliated with the Michigan Conference of the AAUP; from several departments of the University of Michigan; and from public and private foundations.