Philip Hamburger Examines Review Board Impact

Fall 2010

Professor Philip Hamburger believes academic freedom is in serious peril and that institutional review boards are a primary threat. Hamburger, the Law School’s Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, recently expounded on this position at a panel discussion held at Columbia University’s Heyman Center for
the Humanities.

Institutional review boards were created by federal law in the 1970s to review research involving human subjects, but the scope of their influence has been problematic, according to Hamburger. “These are committees that have been given the power to bar inquiry and to bar publication, and they do it on a massive scale,” he said. “It’s probably the most widespread violation of the First Amendment in our nation’s history.”