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First Amendment

Academic Freedom and the First Amendment (2007)

As a legal matter, it can be extremely difficult to determine where faculty members’ rights under academic freedom and the First Amendment begin and end. It can also be difficult to explain the distinction between “academic freedom” and “free speech rights under the First Amendment”—two related but analytically distinct legal concepts. Academic freedom rights are not coextensive with First Amendment rights, although courts have recognized a relationship between the two.


Coalition Protests Ideological Exclusion

The AAUP has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and the PEN America Center to urge the US government to grant a visa to a London-based human rights advocate who has been waiting for more than a year and a half for a visa for travel to the United States to speak at Harvard and other venues.

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.

Catholicism and Unions: The Case for Adjunct Unions at Catholic Universities

This article addresses recent controversies related to the formation of adjunct unions at several Catholic universities, with a particular focus on Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (the author’s institution). It argues that current efforts underway at several Catholic universities to thwart the formation of adjunct unions are contrary to Catholic teaching and have potentially harmful implications for society as a whole.

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.

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. 

Opportunities of Our Own Making: The Struggle for "Academic Freedom"

This essay examines David Horowitz’s “Academic Freedom” campaign, specifically exploring how “academic freedom,” a narrative that appears alongside “free speech” discourse frequently since September 11, 2001, can be understood as a site of struggle

On the Ground in Kansas: Social Media, Academic Freedom, and the Fight for Higher Education

This essay explores the Kansas Board of Regents’ recently implemented rules addressing “Improper Use of Social Media” and faculty responses to this policy. It focuses on the moderate response that has predominated and the debates about the relationship between the First Amendment and academic freedom.

Academic Freedom Encompasses the Right to Boycott: Why the AAUP Should Support the Palestinian Call for the Academic Boycott of Israel

In its 2006 report elaborating on its reasons for rejecting academic boycotts, specifically the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, the AAUP wrote, “In view of the Association’s longstanding commitment to the free exchange of ideas, we oppose academic boycotts.” It is not at all clear, however, that opposing the boycott of academic institutions that play central roles in the violation of human rights furthers the free exchange of ideas. I argue here that the AAUP should reassess its blanket opposition to academic boycotts, and that its position should be informed by its own conceptualization of academic freedom and human rights.


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