Academic Freedom

The American Tradition Institute v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia & Michael Mann, 287 Va. 330 (Va. April 17, 2014)

In this case the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a professor’s climate research records were exempt from disclosure as academic research records, as AAUP argued in an amicus brief submitted to the Court.  The Court explained that the exclusion of University research records from disclosure was intended to prevent “harm to university-wide research efforts, damage to faculty recruitment and retention, undermining of faculty expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and impairment of free thought and expression.” While the decision was limited to a Virginia statute, it provided a strong rationale for the defense of academic records from disclosure.

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

On Thursday, June 12, 2014, the AAUP’s One Hundredth Annual Meeting convened in Washington, DC. Hank Reichman, chair of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, delivered the meeting's opening plenary address—“Can I Tweet That? Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications”—on the impact of digital documentation and communication on academic freedom.

AAUP Takes UIUC to Task for Apparent Summary Dismissal

Actions taken against professor Steven Salaita appear to amount to summary dismissal, which is categorically inimical to academic freedom and due process, says a letter sent today to UIUC chancellor Phyllis Wise.

On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.

A Century of Change

Chief among the Association’s concerns since 1915 has been the protection of academic freedom. This essay offers thoughts on how things have been going and where they may be headed with that critical task. I have been associated with the AAUP for about a third of its history as, at various times, a staff member and volunteer.

Denial of Entry to Professor Troubling

The administration of NYU has maintained that its Abu Dhabi campus will observe the AAUP’s principles on academic freedom and that all faculty and students will be free to enter and leave the country without undue restriction. Professor Ross’s experience raises considerable doubt about these claims.

Victory for Academic Freedom at University of Arizona

A recent court decision from Arizona affirms the AAUP’s continuing support for the academic freedom rights of faculty members engaged in research by contesting intrusive public records requests.

A New Hope? Pope Francis, the Academy, and LGBT Scholars and Scholarship

For many years now, scholars of religion and/or sexuality at Catholic colleges and universities have had their academic freedom challenged by the orthodoxy of the church—especially LGBT scholars, or works of scholarship that promote LGBT lives. However, with the rise of Pope Francis a new hope of academic freedom appears.

Risking Responsibility

This paper attempts to refocus the conversation about academic freedom around the companion concept of “responsibility.” Considering the peculiar symmetry that defines the discussion of “freedom and responsibility” in the works of Friedrich Hayek and Jean-Paul Sartre, it concludes by teasing out a countervailing account of responsibility that might be said to have been at stake in the recent controversy concerning Professor Salaita.

The Personal Ethics of Academic Freedom: Problems of Knowledge and Democratic Competence

The following essay takes up Robert Post’s influential account of academic freedom in order to consider the role of personal ethics in practices surrounding academic freedom. The essay begins by outlining and proposing some revisions of Post’s account. It then considers three topics that are connected with academic freedom: the responsibilities of academics in extramural speech; in professional evaluation of research; and, finally, in tenure decisions.


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