'Academic Freedom' Offers Little Protection Against New Efforts to Obtain Professors' E-Mails

Recent efforts by conservative-leaning groups to obtain the e-mails of Michigan and Wisconsin public-university professors have shed light on this much: Citing a need to protect "academic freedom" is, in itself, unlikely to help the universities avoid complying with requests for e-mails under state open-records laws.

The e-mail requests, directed at Michigan's three largest public universities by the free-market-oriented Mackinac Center for Public Policy and at the University of