Richard Hofstadter Quote

“A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.”

~ Richard Hofstadter

Commencement Address, Columbia University, 1968.

Ratings and Comments


Mike, Norwalk

oops, that ain't hapnin anymore

Robert, Sarasota

Yes, and politics and religion should stay out of it, though its debate should stay in. Political and religious debate is healthy but a University's position should never take sides.

Joe, Rochester, MI

It SHOULD be the center of free inquiry and criticism. Unfortunately, those who speak freely on unpopular issues tend to get fired. Firing those with unpopular views demonstrates the inaccuracy of this statement.

Robert, St. Emilion, France

The sentiments of this quote need drastically to be revived... Students and faculty need to be proactive in bringing this about.... It must be achieved from within.....

Bob, Charlotte, VT

Joe of Rochester, MI: then there are those who have "tenure," which means regardless of how wild the precepts they teach, they CANNOT be fired. The phrase is "free inquiry," not dogma taught by those who feel they are the cognoscenti.

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