Academic Freedom

The Canadian Model: A Potential Solution to Institutional Review Board Overreach

This article discusses how institutional review boards, which began as safeguards against the abuse of human subjects, now impose so many restrictions that they constitute a genuine threat to academic freedom. Nichols considers the Canadian approach to review boards as a reasonable alternative.

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. 

Garcetti and Salaita: Revisiting Academic Freedom

This article revisits the legal concept of academic freedom in the wake of Professor Steven Salaita’s dehiring and the 2006 US Supreme Court decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos. It examines four key post-Garcetti decisions, each of which illustrates a potential solution to courts facing issues of academic freedom, and each of which has different implications for Professor Salaita’s dehiring. The article also proposes a new legal concept of academic freedom that would empower rather than restrict professors.

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.

Editor's Introduction - Volume 6

This is introduction to Volume 6 of the AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom by the journal's editor, Michael Bérubé. He explains that half of the journal's articles discuss the controversy surrounding Steven Salaita and his "dehiring" by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The other eight articles in the volume discuss other pressing issues, including challenges to and violations of AAUP policies and principles.

Editor's Introduction - Volume 5

In this introduction to Volume 6 of the Journal of Academic Freedom, Ashley Dawson introduces articles centered on the issue of electronic communications and academic freedom. The volume examines how changing technologies and the changing professional landscape impact academic freedom.


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