Academic Freedom

From the General Secretary: What if...?

Posted on my office pegboard is a bumper sticker that reads, “Why Is That?” expressing the scholarly exploration for understanding that has defined my work for nearly thirty years. Inscribed in my consciousness is another query—what if?— invoking the creative posing of possibilities for practice that has also driven my work and will focus it as the AAUP’s general secretary.

Academic Freedom, the Big Picture

Academic Freedom in the Wired World: Political Extremism, Corporate Power, and the University. Robert O’Neil. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Protecting an Independent Faculty Voice: Academic Freedom after Garcetti v. Ceballos

Report examining the potential impact on academic governance of the Supreme Court Garcetti v. Ceballos decision. It recommends actions to be taken in both public and private colleges and universities to preserve academic freedom in governance even in the face of judicial hostility or indifference.

Cuccinelli v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, 283 Va. 420 (2010)

In a 2012 decision the Virginia Supreme Court rejected attempts by then Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to compel disclosure of university research records.  Cuccinelli who publicly opposes the theory of global warming, used his position to formally request emails and other documents relating to former faculty member and climatologist Michael Mann from the University of Virginia (UVA) arguing that he had authority to subpoena these records pursuant to the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA).  The Supreme Court of Virginia held that state universities, as agencies of the Commonwealth, do not constitute a “person” under the FATA and therefore Cuccinelli had no authority to require release of the records and his appeal was rendered moot. (In another related case, the Virginia Supreme Court rejected a request for these records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.)

New Academic Freedom Subcommittee

The AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure has established a subcommittee to study and recommend procedural standards to ensure academic freedom in the conduct of politically controversial academic personnel decisions. The subcommittee members are Ernst Benjamin, former AAUP general secretary, chair; Debra Nails, Michigan State University; Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University; David Rabban, University of Texas at Austin and chair of Committee A; Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and AAUP president; and Gary Rhoades, AAUP general secretary.

Journal of Academic Freedom

The AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom publishes scholarship on academic freedom and on its relation to shared governance, tenure, and collective bargaining. Scholarship on academic freedom is typically scattered across a wide range of disciplines; the Journal provides a central place to track the developing international discussion about academic freedom and its collateral issues.

AAUP Launches New Online Journal

The AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom is the first journal devoted entirely to the subject of academic freedom.

Court Urged to Uphold First Amendment In Churchill Case

The AAUP and other groups submitted an amicus brief yesterday to a Colorado Court of Appeals, arguing that the University of Colorado should reinstate a tenured professor whose free speech rights were violated. 

Securing the Three-Legged Stool

No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom. Cary Nelson. New York: New York University Press, 2010

Threat to Academic Freedom in Virginia

7/6/10 Update: A Pennsylvania State University investigative committee cleared Michael Mann of ethical misconduct.  

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