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Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

The text of this report was written in the first instance by the members of the investigating committee. In accordance with Association practice, the text was then edited by the AAUP’s staff and, as revised with the concurrence of the investigating committee, was submitted to Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

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.

Report of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 2013–14

The 2013–14 Committee A report includes both judicial and legislative activities. The judicial work of Committee A involves the imposition and removal of censure. In 2013–14, one administration was censured, and Committee A was delegated the authority to remove another from the censure list once continuing positive developments were validated. Committee A also closed its investigation of another institution because of favorable administrative progress.

Report of the Annual Meeting, 2014

From June 11 to 15, 2014, the AAUP hosted its One Hundredth Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Concurrent with the annual meeting was the AAUP Conference on the State of Higher Education, which included plenary addresses and presentations on current issues confronting the academic community. The AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress also held its annual business meeting in conjunction with the AAUP annual meeting.

Report of the Annual Conference, 2011

The AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education, held June 8–11, 2011, in Washington, DC, featured four days of presentations on pressing issues in higher education, along with expert-led workshops, keynote addresses, and AAUP annual meeting business sessions.

Report of the Annual Conference, 2010

The AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education, held June 9–12, 2010, in Washington, D.C., featured four days of presentations on pivotal questions in higher education, in addition to keynote addresses and AAUP annual meeting business sessions.

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 ( 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

The AAUP agency fee audits are posted here as they become available.

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.

Report of the Committee on College and University Governance, 2009–10

Issues of shared governance have always been central to the AAUP’s concerns, and at no time have these issues been more critical than during the present economic crisis. Too often administrations have used the recent economic recession to justify layoffs, furloughs, and restructuring without involving faculty in the decision making process. In these circumstances, the president and general secretary of the Association in the past year authorized the first face-to-face meeting of the Committee on College and University Governance since 2006. In addition to a meeting held in Washington on April 2–3, 2010, the committee also met by conference call on May 18, 2009, and on May 5, 2010, and during these meetings considered various ways of highlighting the importance of involving faculty in college and university governance. Without such involvement, crucial decisions affecting faculty members’ ability to carry out their teaching and research functions are made without adequate consideration of academic concerns.