Academic Freedom

AAUP Releases Statement on Confidentiality in Academic Governance

A draft statement released in November by the AAUP argues that requiring faculty members to sign confidentiality agreements as a condition of serving on university committees is in most cases inconsistent with widely accepted standards of shared governance and with the concept of serving as a faculty representative. This argument does not apply to those serving on promotion and tenure committees and similar bodies, where faculty members do not serve as representatives but instead are elected to exercise their own professional judgment in interpreting and applying relevant criteria.

AAUP Commends Brooklyn College President

In a letter to Karen Gould, the AAUP applauds her support of a department's right to co-sponsor a controversial forum.

AAUP's letter to FAU's President Saunders

In a letter to the president of Florida Atlantic University, the AAUP defended a communication professor’s right, under principles of academic freedom, to speak on matters of public concern without fear of institutional discipline.

Terminations of Tenured Faculty Appointments at SUBR

An AAUP investigating committee’s report on Southern University, Baton Rouge, focuses on the termination of nineteen tenured faculty appointments in spring 2012. The actions followed a declaration of financial exigency in October 2011 by Southern University’s board of supervisors in response to a budgetary shortfall and a concurrent plan to reorganize SUBR by reducing the number of its colleges from nine to five.

The Red Scare in the New York City Schools

Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge by Marjorie Heins. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

Berkeley, the American Police State, and the Making of a Governor

Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. Seth Rosenfeld. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012.

AAUP Statement on Academic Boycotts

The recent decision by noted physicist Stephen Hawking to call off plans to attend a major conference in Israel out of deference to an academic boycott advocated by some pro-Palestinian groups and the vote in late April by the membership of the Association for Asian American Studies to endorse such a boycott have again raised the issue of whether such boycotts violate the principles of academic freedom.

Universities in the West Bank and Gaza

In 1990, I wrote in Academe about higher education in Palestine, in particular the difficulties of operating under military occupation. Then, in 2004, I updated the information, noting how much more difficult communication had become but mentioning some hopeful developments in teaching and research. I wish that I could now write a more optimistic piece. The West Bank and Gaza are still under varying degrees of occupation, as shown to some extent by the map below. Traveling even short distances can be a daily trauma for faculty members and students.

University of California Affirms Faculty Free Speech Rights

The University of California Board of Regents has affirmed the right of faculty to speak out about institutional matters without fear of reprisal.

America’s Pastime

We Americans are an argumentative lot. There’s nothing we enjoy more than a good debate, especially if the “debate” actually consists of little more than the vociferous expression of contrary opinions with little supporting evidence. Radio and television careers are made of such stuff! Arguing about religion, particularly about religion and science, seems to hold perennial fascination for our compatriots. It’s my candidate for America’s favorite pastime.

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