University of Chicago Taken To Task Over Sudan Policy

March 20, 2008

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University of Chicago faculty and students often take fierce moral stands on political and social issues, but now, the university itself is facing moral scrutiny from Chicago aldermen.

UNFILTERED: Audio from the hearing.

Aldermen want the University of Chicago to pull investments from companies that do business in the war-torn Sudan, but the University says it won't budge.

It says it won't use it's pocketbook to take political stands - that would jeopardize academic freedom in the long run.

26th ward alderman Billy Ocasio lost patience with that argument.

OCASIO: I believe freedom of inquiry can take place - that is the mind of students, that is the work of faculty - that has nothing to with dollars. For me, a school that is about today and the future is really … their logic is in the past.

Ocasio's human relations committee unanimously approved a resolution to denounce the university over the Sudan issue. It's likely to pass the full city council meeting in April.

I'm Shawn Allee, Chicago Public Radio.