Academic Freedom

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.

Civility and Academic Freedom after Salaita

The Salaita case raises at least three distinct issues: (1) the right of faculty to speak out in public on matters of public concern; (2) the academic freedom of academic departments to make academic decisions; and (3) the role of civility in education. Uncivil speech is generally protected by the First Amendment,  but within educational contexts this does not hold. Even where censorship of uncivil speech is legally permissible, however, it is a serious threat to academic freedom. Educators can promote civility without censorship.

Professor Salaita's Intramural Speech

Much of the discourse about the Steven Salaita case seems premised on misunderstandings of concepts that are fundamental to the professoriate. Among these are the distinction between extramural and intramural utterance. Professor Salaita’s tweets, because they directly invoke his area of academic authority, should be considered intramural utterance.

Everything Old Is New Again: Bertrand Russell and Steven Salaita

The decision by trustees of the University of Illinois to revoke a tenured position offered to Steven Salaita evokes another, long-ago controversy. In 1940, a New York court revoked the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a faculty position at the College of the City of New York, in part because of Russell’s allegedly “immoral” writings. It is difficult, if not impossible, to simultaneously deplore Russell’s firing and support Salaita’s.

Social Media & the Politics of Collegiality: An Interview with Steven Salaita

This article draws upon a 2014 interview with Steven Salaita to consider the public-private sphere tensions at play in his case, the temporal and contextual nature of writing for social media, and the larger context of US media reporting.

New Report Raises Concerns about LSU Firing

This report questions hasty actions by the administration, procedures followed, and low tolerance for profanity at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. This supplementary report on a censured administration is one of only seven such reports issued in the AAUP’s century of existence.


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