On Thursday, June 12, 2014, the AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education and One Hundredth Annual Meeting convened in Washington, DC.
Hank Reichman, chair of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, delivered the meeting's opening plenary address—“Can I Tweet That? Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications”—on the impact of digital documentation and communication on academic freedom.
The AAUP recently released a revised and expanded version of Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications, a report that addresses the threats to academic freedom that can arise from a reliance on electronic media. The report states that “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.”
The address elucidated the principles of the new report and touched upon issues of surveillance and the misuse of faculty’s digital, audio, and electronic communications. Although electronic communication can make classes more public and accessible than ever before, Reichman cautioned faculty about taking their digital academic freedom for granted.
“Academic freedom online is no less important than in traditional classrooms,” Reichman said.