Academic Freedom and Tenure: Catholic University of America

This case contains much that is unusual in the Association's experience. It involves, first of all, a professor who has not been dismissed from his position but who, with conditions imposed upon his teaching that he considers unacceptable, has chosen to take a leave of absence and teach elsewhere. Although the events of primary interest in the case occurred within three years, they can best be understood in the context of a history spanning more than two decades. This case has been the subject of two books and of countless magazine and newspaper articles both in this country and abroad, and aspects of  it have been argued at length before a faculty committee and a superior court; few Association cases, it may be said, have been so widely publicized or so profusely documented.Additionally, the case arose and developed at a university with a governance structure that has no exact counterpart in this country, even among other Catholic institutions.


The text of this report was written by the members of the investigating committee. In accordance with Association practice, the text was then edited by the Association's staff, and, as revised, with the concurrence of the investigating committee, was submitted to Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. With the approval of Committee A it was subsequently sent to the faculty member at whose request the inquiry was conducted, to the administration of The Catholic University of America, to the chapter president, and to other persons concerned in the report. In the light of the responses received and with the editorial assistance of the Association's staff, this report was published in the September-October 1989 issue of Academe.