AAUP Issues Statement in Support of Minnesota's Decision to Publish
April 15, 2002: The Association of American University Presses today voiced its strong support for the University of Minnesota Press, the scholarly publisher that has recently been criticized in the media for publishing journalist Judith Levine's book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Kids from Sex.
AAUP issued a statement championing the Minnesota press's decision to uphold the responsibility of scholarly publishers to disseminate significant and valuable research. The statement was released today and signed by 17 other organizations committed to preserving intellectual freedom. Commenting on the statement, AAUP Executive Director Peter Givler said: "All great universities champion freedom of inquiry; but freedom of inquiry carries with it the responsibility to publish its results. Otherwise the freedom is meaningless."
Statement in Support of the University of Minnesota Press
The undersigned organizations strongly support the University of Minnesota Press, which has been attacked for its decision to publish Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Minors from Sex, by Judith Levine. Without even reading the book, critics have called for its suppression and demanded that the Minnesota legislature cut the funding of the University of Minnesota.
Ideas become controversial when they challenge conventional wisdom. Many are unwise. However, some are beneficial, challenging us to examine our basic assumptions and consider changing the way we have always done things. The First Amendment exists to allow us to debate the wisdom of those ideas and make up our own minds. Censorship only supports a status quo that cannot otherwise be defended.
We applaud the University of Minnesota Press's decision to face that challenge and enrich the public debate about this essential issue. Its decision is one of which a great university can, and should, be proud. We trust the University of Minnesota appreciates the value of a courageous press to its educational mission and reputation.
Association of American University Presses
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom,
Association of American Publishers
Association of Research Libraries
Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression
Feminists for Free Expression
Freedom to Read Foundation
First Amendment Project
Modern Language Association of America
National Humanities Alliance
National Coalition Against Censorship
Online Policy Group
Publishers Marketing Association
PEN American Center
PEN New England
Upper Midwest Booksellers Association