April 5th, 2011
Governor Scott Walker,
Office of Governor Scott Walker
115 East Capitol
Madison WI 53702
Dear Governor Walker;
The Canadian Historical Association has been watching the actions of the Republican Party of Wisconsin with respect to privacy, civil rights, and academic freedom with growing concern and we are writing to condemn the request to the University of Wisconsin to turn over the email correspondence of Professor William Cronon in the strongest possible terms.
The Canadian Historical Association/Société historique du Canada (CHA/SHC) is the oldest and largest organization representing professional historians in Canada. Founded in 1922, the bilingual organization is dedicated to scholarship in all fields of history. It is made up of historians engaged as professionals from all regions of Canada and abroad. Our mandate includes protecting the human rights of historians.
The request for access to Professor Cronon’s emails by the Republican Party immediately following his criticism of Republican policy in Wisconsin is a direct assault on free speech, on academic freedom, and on human rights, in particular the privacy rights articulated under the authority of the United Nations in Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as follows:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Art. 17: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Art. 12: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
As a member of the United Nations, the United States, like Canada is a signatory to both the Universal Declaration and the Covenant.
The Canadian Historical Association urges you to ask the Republican Party to withdraw the request, to apologize for the error, and to affirm the party’s support for freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the reasonable expectations of privacy, free from the intimidation of government, political parties or other interests.
Mary Lynn Stewart,
Republican Party of Wisconsin
148 East Johnson Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53703
Chancellor Biddy Martin
University of Wisconsin
161 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Dr
Madison, WI 53706
Dr. William Cronon,
5103 Humanities Building, Mosse, George L
455 N Park St
Madison, WI 53706
Dr. James Grossman
American Historical Association
400 A Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003-3889
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