Protect the Faculty Voice

In the face of unprecedented threats to academic freedom at public colleges and universities, the AAUP launched an awareness and action campaign called "Speak Up, Speak Out: Protect the Faculty Voice on Campus."

The foundation of the project is a comprehensive report by an AAUP subcommittee that examines the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos that determined government can restrict the speech of public employees when they comment on issues related to their "official duties." Read the full report or an executive summary

Although the decision specifically set aside academic speech, recognizing that additional constitutional interests were at stake, several lower courts have ruled recently that faculty members who speak out on matters affecting their institutions are not protected under the First Amendment.

In addition to analysis of Garcetti and the ensuing lower court decisions, the AAUP report recommends a number of action steps, including adoption of specific policy language designed to ensure the continued protection of academic freedom and shared governance.

Everyone has an important voice in protecting academic freedom on campus. Find out whether your college or university has written policies that protect the full range of academic freedom. If not, urge your senate and administration to work together to develop them. And if it does, use the AAUP materials to reinforce policy strength; collaborate with other groups on and off campus for governance workshops, to monitor emerging cases and publicize successful actions; and support faculty around the country in protecting academic freedom and shared governance.

To supplement the report, we developed an online toolkit with information on what you can do and how-to and success stories from other faculty.