Academic freedom

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 19:24:44 EDT

Legal aspects

    Institutional academic freedom reserves to the university itself
    selection of faculty and students, as well as issues in curriculum,
    such as the content of the syllabus in each class. Institutional
    academic freedom does /not/ protect individual professors with
    unorthodox views from dismissal by the university administration,
    although institutional academic freedom does protect professors from
    dismissal by legislators or politicians.

    The clearest definition of institutional academic freedom in the USA
    appears in a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, where it is said that
    academic freedom means that the university can "determine for itself
    on academic grounds:

       1. who may teach
       2. what may be taught
       3. how it shall be taught, and
       4. who may be admitted to study.

    /Regents of the Univ. of California v. Bakke/, 438 U.S. 265, 312
    (1978). Quoted with approval in /Widmar v. Vincent/, 454 U.S. 263,
    276 (1981).

Let me quote

    "`It is the business of a university to provide that atmosphere
    which is most conductive to speculation, experiment and creation. It
    is an atmosphere in which there prevail "the four essential
    freedoms" of a university - to determine for itself on academic
    grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught,
    and who may be admitted to study.'" Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354
    U.S. 234, 263
    (1957) (concurring in result).

 From the Teacher's Organization

    Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing
    their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into
    their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their

    *2.*The intent of this statement is not to discourage what is
    "controversial." Controversy is at the heart of the free academic
    inquiry which the entire statement is designed to foster. The
    passage serves to underscore the need for teachers to avoid
    persistently intruding material which has no relation to their subject.

 From the DI announcement

    West added that the statement violates the University's own
    guarantees in its Faculty Handbook, which declare that "academic
    freedom is essential for the protection of the rights of faculty
    members in teaching and of students in learning" and that "teachers
    are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their
    subjects" so long as they don't introduce irrelevant material.

Irrelevant material, seems to be quite in line with what the statement
actually stated. contains links to this handbook contains the irrelevant material

What am I missing here?
Received on Fri Oct 7 19:26:41 2005

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