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On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.

On Partnerships with Foreign Governments: The Case of Confucius Institutes

Allowing any third-party control of academic matters is inconsistent with principles of academic freedom, shared governance, and the institutional autonomy of colleges and universities. Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore these principles.

Defending the Freedom to Innovate: Faculty Intellectual Property Rights after Stanford v. Roche

Tensions over control of the fruits of faculty scholarship have been slowly building since the 1980s and have intensified over the last three years. There have long been differences of opinion over ownership of patentable inventions, but recently a number of universities have categorically asserted that they own the products of faculty research. And there is increasing institutional interest in declaring ownership of faculty intellectual property subject to copyright—most notably evident in demands that faculty members cede ownership of online courses and other instructional materials to their universities, a trend that began escalating in the 2012–13 academic year.

Statement on Intellectual Property

The management of inventions, patents, and other forms of intellectual property in a university setting warrants special guidance because it bears on so many aspects of the university’s core missions, values, and functions, including academic freedom, scholarship, research, shared governance, and the transmission and use of academic knowledge by the broader society.

Statement on Intellectual Property

Providing guidance, this statement deals with the management of inventions, patents, and other forms of intellectual property in a university setting.

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,

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. 

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This draft report, prepared by a subcommittee of the Association’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, was approved by Committee A and the AAUP’s national Council in November 2013 for publication for comment. We welcome your comments on the draft report; please send them to Jennifer Nichols (jnichols@aaup.org) by January 10.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Northeastern Illinois University

The administration of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago violated principles of academic freedom when it denied tenure to a candidate who had opposed its wishes in a dispute between linguistics faculty and teachers of English as a second language (TESL), concludes an AAUP investigating committee in this new report.

Incentives to Forgo Tenure

Tenure is "indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society." So declares the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The academic community, however, has never lacked for proposals that would undermine tenure and thus its role in serving students and society. Among such current proposals, one in particular requires comment because it has surfaced in recent cases considered by Committee A.1  It proposes that prospective faculty members accept renewable term appointments and forgo consideration for tenure and/or that current faculty members renounce tenure in return for some advantage, such as a higher salary, accelerated leave, or other pecuniary consideration. Proponents of these agreements argue that they embody a free exchange of mutual benefit to the parties. If academic tenure withers in consequence, they claim, that only demonstrates that, in a free market, faculty will have demonstrated their unwillingness to support tenure.

Agency-Fee Audits

Information about agency-fee audits.

Defending the Freedom to Innovate: Faculty Intellectual Property Rights After Stanford v. Roche

This report is being issued in the midst of fundamental changes in the character of faculty rights and academic freedom. The purpose of the report is to put the dialog on intellectual property on a new foundation, one that leads to a principle-based restoration of faculty leadership in setting policy in this increasingly important area of university activity. Administration efforts to control the fruits of faculty scholarship augur a sea change in faculty employment conditions, one too often imposed without negotiation or consent.
 

Faculty Communication with Governing Boards: Best Practices

From its initial statement of principles in 1915 and its earliest investigations into violations of academic freedom, the AAUP has emphasized the necessity of effective communication among those who participate in academic governance. Based on a consideration of relevant AAUP documents, the current climate in higher education, and feedback on an earlier draft, the final statement urges greater communication between faculties and governing boards in colleges and universities.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: National Louis University

Report dealing with the National Louis University administration’s actions in spring 2012 to discontinue nine degree programs and five nondegree certificate programs, to close four departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, and to terminate the appointments of at least sixty-three full-time faculty members, sixteen with tenure.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Southern University, Baton Rouge

Report investigating the declaration of financial exigency at Southern University, Baton Rouge (SUBR), and the subsequent terminations of tenured professors and restructuring of academic programs.

College and University Governance: The University of Virginia Governing Board’s Attempt to Remove the President

This report documents a major breakdown in governance at UVA, focusing on the role of the board of visitors and its rector, Helen Dragas, who initiated the effort to force the president’s resignation. It finds that the events at the university resulted from “a failure by those charged with institutional oversight to understand the institution over which they presided and to engage with the administration and the faculty in an effort to be well informed.”

Institutional Accreditation: A Call for Greater Faculty Involvement

A report calling for greater faculty involvement in the accreditation of colleges and universities.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Grove City College

Although a faculty member was terminated by the administration of Grove City College for stated cause, for his grade distribution and teaching performance, it was done  without any due process. The dismissal action in this case was accompanied by collateral controversy, disclosure of unusual attendant circumstances, and frequent display of emotion. Many of these elements were reported in the press and by radio and television broadcast.  Therefore, the investigating committee additionally issued  a set of Supplementary Observations and these are included in this report..

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