Academic Freedom

Why Academic Politics Are So Vicious

Twenty years have passed since I taught my first day of classes as a beginning assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University. To be honest, these days I often find myself bored as well as exhausted. But I do not seek a life elsewhere. It is the fact that I can spread ideas that keeps me faithful to what I do.

AAUP Welcomes Jennifer Ruth as Editor of Journal of Academic Freedom

Henry Reichman, AAUP first vice-president and chair of the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, said “Jennifer Ruth's wide-ranging interests in topics as diverse as Victorian literature and higher education in China, her fervent commitment to academic freedom and shared governance, and her ambitious, innovative, and courageous efforts to address the profound implications of universities' increasing reliance on non-tenure-track faculty, make her an ideal candidate to edit the Journal of Academic Freedom."

Brief Supports Academic Freedom in Research

The American Association of University Professors filed an amicus brief on October 26 with the Arizona Court of Appeals arguing that academic freedom to conduct research is essential to a vital university system and warrants protecting certain research records from disclosure. The case involves a lawsuit filed by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, a “free market” legal foundation which is using public records requests in a campaign against climate science. 

Does Academic Freedom Have a Future?

Prognostications about the future of academic freedom will be informed best by the lessons of its past. And if there is any lesson to be learned from the AAUP’s first century, it is that academic freedom can never be taken for granted. While academic freedom is one of the foundations of greatness in the American higher education system, it has always been—and always will be—contested and vulnerable. Academic freedom must be fought for repeatedly, and there will be no final victory in the struggle.

The AAUP in the Digital Universe(ity)

The universe of the Internet is changing both the AAUP and the university—and it will continue to do so. The AAUP, an organization that once could focus primarily on matters of particular concern to the faculty, now finds that it must react to a much wider range of issues and address a wider population. Universities that once were able to solve many of their problems out of public sight now find that almost everything they do is subject to comment. The privilege of privacy has disappeared—for all of us.

The Changing Media and Academic Freedom

The media have been both enemies and allies of faculty in the fight for academic freedom during the past century.

Professionalism and Unionism: Academic Freedom, Collective Bargaining, and the American Association of University Professors

This article traces the history of the relationship between professionalism and union organizing within the AAUP, whose founders initially eschewed unionism. Interest in unionism did not become a significant force until the mid-1960s, when the AAUP was compelled to respond both to intensified discontent among faculty with their economic status and to increasingly vigorous organizing by union rivals.

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.

The “Textbook Controversy”: Lessons for Contemporary Economics

The “textbook controversy” involved the political suppression of the first Keynesian textbook to appear in the United States, in 1947. This historic event highlight the issue of who “owns” and participates in economic discourse and how the fruits of this discourse are—or should be—disseminated to the broader public.

Title IX, Sexual Harassment, and Academic Freedom: What No One Seems to Understand

Institutions all over the United States are currently revising and implementing policies concerning sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. But both “sexual harassment” and “sexual misconduct” are used in very different ways in different contexts, often by the same entity. The result is a mess. 

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