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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Formation of a Foundation to Support Academic and Intellectual Freedom

1973 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Background

The National Council of Teachers of English urgently needs to reaffirm its concern for maintaining the freedom for ideas, the freedom for information, the freedom of the press, the freedom of authors, the freedom to teach, and the freedom to learn.

Recent incidents including the burning of books in Drake, North Dakota; the mutilation of books in Columbus, Ohio; and the dismissal of English teachers in several states make it imperative for NCTE to take a definite step for the protection of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

In addition, recent Supreme Court decisions have given responsibility for defining "obscenity" to the community, without defining "community." This lack of a definitive statement has already adversely affected the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

To meet this challenge, NCTE must now take steps to establish procedures for investigating specific incidents and for keeping the membership of this organization as well as the public informed of the basic issues and actions relative to these freedoms. Be it therefore

Resolution

Resolved, that the Executive Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English with all possible speed seek to establish an "intellectual freedom foundation" serving teachers of English. This foundation shall assemble information on censorship, establish criteria for handling alleged attacks on individual freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the U.S., prepare reports to the membership of NCTE, and make recommendations to the Executive Committee concerning matters of intellectual freedom; and

     that the "intellectual freedom foundation" seek its financial support from individuals, agencies, foundations, and other interested groups.

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