Our newsletter goes to press on the eve of President Bush's State of the Union address, in which he is expected to argue for going to war against Iraq. By the time this newsletter reaches you, the war may already have started. It's a frightening moment, to say the least. Meanwhile free speech and civil liberties are being curtailed in the name of security and scholars and researchers have special reasons to be wary: Archives are shutting off access; the Freedom of Information Act is being gutted; new laws are demanding that when asked by government officials, librarians must turn over records of what books and websites their clients have perused without even allowing them to notify the client; and new websites -- which invite students to report on their professors -- are policing our classrooms and declaring dissent beyond the patriotic pale. For the current generation of students and faculty, and for scholars both inside and outside academia, the stakes for our labors -- and for universities' roles as sites of vigorous debate and rigorous inquiry -- have never seemed higher.
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