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Reviewed by:
  • Student Freedom Revisited: Contemporary Issues & Perspectives
  • Shannon Ellis
Student Freedom Revisited: Contemporary Issues & Perspectives Robert L. Ackerman, William B. Werner, and Louis C. Vaccaro (Editors) Washington, D.C.: NASPA, 2006, 149 pages. $34.95

Over thirty years ago the timely book Student Freedom in American Higher Education (Vaccaro & Covert, 1969) arrived on the desks of university administrators struggling with the demise of in loco parentis and the rising voice of student activism. Its updated and expanded version has arrived at an equally critical time in American higher education in the form of Student Freedom Revisited.

Louis Vaccaro returns with colleagues Robert Ackerman and William Werner to address developments in the student freedom movement from a variety of viewpoints.

The editors of Student Freedom Revisited have brought together 14 faculty, presidents, senior student affairs officers, senior academic officers, student activists, priests, and attorneys to replicate and update Vaccaro's and Covert's 1969 collection on the student freedom movement. The fact that the current authors, as in the 1969 book, came to no consensus clearly demonstrates that the topic is as important as ever on college campuses.

Chapter 1, Student Academic Freedom: An Uncertain Future by Robert Ackerman, provides a historical summary and sociological review of the tensions that led to the development of freedom to teach and to learn on American college campuses. The author speculates on the risky futures of student freedoms that are critical to the learning process.

In chapter 2, Student Activism: A View From an Administrator, Keith Miser enhances the historical context of student freedoms set in chapter 1 with an emphasis on student activism. The distinct point of view of a college administrator dominates the variety of responses and lessons learned for use in today's climate of free expression.

Campus Subcultures and the Emergence of Student Freedom in American Higher Education

(chapter 3, by Louis Vaccaro) and Diversity and Student Freedom (chapter 4, by Corlisse D. Thomas and Andre McKenzie) address the historic influences of student subcultures on American college campuses as they relate to student freedom and activism. The observation that free speech arose from the once peripheral voices of populations, such as students of color and students with disabilities, provides guidance for institutions seeking to create a more inclusive community on campus.

The perspective of a practitioner from outside the United States is set forth in International Dimensions of Student Freedom by Sabine U. O'Hara. Chapter 5 provides an international perspective on the long term impact of university student movements in 1960's America on the present system of European higher education. Parallel themes of protests against war and for equal opportunity evoke an exploration of how we learn to use our unprecedented freedom of communication and freedom of movement to advance our global community.

Chapter 6, Contemporary Issues in the Constitutional Rights of Students in American [End Page 119] Higher Education by William Werner, and chapter 7, Working in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution by Holly Hippensteel, address current campus topics including hate speech, religion, and sexual mores. Werner details the reaffirmation of student constitutional rights at public institutions, but alerts readers that student civil liberties are still undefined in some areas. Specifically, he details the regular testing of boundaries with regard to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Hippensteel details the dramatic changes in acceptable social and sexual behavior that have taken place over the past 30 years while providing practitioners with thoughts on future responsibilities.

Reverend Christopher DeGiovine's chapter, Freedom for What?, responds to the 1969 chapter by Sheridan P. McCabe on the challenge of student freedom to religious commitment. This is done in the context of new concerns regarding student freedoms in this post modern time of emergent cultures, a global economy, and a new social and political order. He concludes with advice to both public and religiously-affiliated institutions in search of building culturally and religiously diverse communities.

In chapter 9, Student Financial Freedom, author Kevin Kucera places the 1960's issue of higher education costs and access in a post-2000 context. He identifies several significant trends affecting the affordability of higher education which have resulted in increases to student...


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