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The AAUP office reopened on September 7, 2021. Contact information for all staff, including those working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, is available here

 

 

Academic Freedom

Demers v. Austin, 746 F.3d 402 (9th Cir. Wash. Jan. 29, 2014)

In this important decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced the First Amendment protections for academic speech by faculty members.  Adopting an approach advanced in AAUP’s amicus brief, the court emphasized the seminal importance of academic speech. Accordingly, the court concluded that the Garcetti analysis did not apply to "speech related to scholarship or teaching,” and therefore the First Amendment could protect this speech even when undertaken "pursuant to the official duties" of a teacher and professor.

Controversy in the Classroom

The AAUP clarifies that the group "Students for Academic Freedom," which purports to rely on AAUP principles concerning controversial subject matter, in fact goes well beyond the AAUP's statements and is inimical to academic freedom and the very idea of liberal education. 

AAUP Opposes Anti-Boycott Legislation

The AAUP released a statement opposing legislation (currently pending in New York and Maryland) which would prevent public funds from being used to support organizations which have voted to boycott higher education institutions in other countries.

Proposed Maryland Legislation "Ill-Conceived"

The AAUP and the NCAC criticize academic boycotts, but warn public officials against interference with political expression, open discussion, and debate.

Letter Urges Legislature To Restore Funding

Penalizing state educational institutions financially simply because members of the legislature disapprove of specific elements of the educational program is educationally unsound and constitutionally suspect: it threatens academic freedom and the quality of education.

More than MOOCs

On August 13, 2013, William C. Powers, the president of the University of Texas at Austin, sent out a campuswide e-mail about educational technology. While campuswide e-mails seldom make news, this one did because few university presidents ever address this particular subject. “Rapidly advancing technology is changing virtually every aspect of our lives,” Powers wrote, “and education is no exception. The changing landscape presents challenges, but it also gives us great opportunities.

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This revised report brings up to date and expands upon the Association’s 2004 report on the same topic, while affirming the earlier report’s basic principles. Academic freedom, free inquiry, and freedom of expression within the academic community may be limited to no greater extent in electronic format than they are in print, save for the most unusual situation where the very nature of the medium itself might warrant unusual restrictions,

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.

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