Academic Freedom Resources

Source Name/Type


Dictionary definition


Definition of academic freedom: freedom to teach or learn without interference (as by government officials)

Academic Freedom of Professors and Institutions

AAUP Article/Report 
(PDF download link at top of report)


Constitutional principles of academic freedom have developed in two stages, each occupying a distinct time period and including distinct types of cases. The earlier cases of the 1950s and 1960s focused on faculty and institutional freedom from external (political) intrusion. These cases pitted the faculty and institution against the State. Since the early 1970s, however, academic freedom cases have focused primarily on faculty freedom from institutional intrusion. In these latter cases, faculty academic freedom has collided with institutional academic freedom.

Freedom in the Classroom

AAUP Article/Report 
(PDF download link at top of report)


Contemporary criticism of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Critics charge that the professoriate is abusing the classroom in four particular ways: (1) instructors "indoctrinate" rather than educate; (2) instructors fail fairly to present conflicting views on contentious subjects, thereby depriving students of educationally essential "diversity" or "balance"; (3) instructors are intolerant of students' religious, political, or socioeconomic views, thereby creating a hostile atmosphere inimical to learning; and (4) instructors persistently interject material, especially of a political or ideological character, irrelevant to the subject of instruction.

"Freedom in the classroom" is ultimately connected to freedom of research and publication.

1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure (original text)


Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights.

The Devoted Student - opinion article

The New York Times

At first glance, the flourishing of religion on campuses seems to reverse trends long criticized by conservatives under the rubric of “political correctness.” But, in truth, something else is occurring. Once again, right and left have become mirror images of each other; religious correctness is simply the latest version of political correctness. Indeed, it seems the more religious students become, the less willing they are to engage in critical reflection about faith.

At a time when colleges and universities engage in huge capital campaigns and are obsessed with public relations, faculty members can no longer be confident they will remain free to pose the questions that urgently need to be asked.

An Ill-Bred Professor, and a Bad Situation - first-person opinion article

Students for Academic Freedom


This is really what my academic freedom campaign is about. It is about professorial bullies, so pathetic in their self-esteem, as to carry on a daily war against students 20, 30 or 40 years their junior and over whom they have immense institutional power. To behave like this, they have to abandon every ethical principle that ought to govern them as teachers (and that in fact is written into their faculty handbooks and ignored). But of course they do this for a higher purpose: They see themselves as social redeemers. They are busily indoctrinating and recruiting the next generation of Gramscians and leftists and Churchillian haters of the American dream, to save the world from the rest of us.

Mission and Strategy (mission statement of the organization)

Students for Academic Freedom

It is the goal of Students for Academic Freedom to secure greater representation for under-represented ideas and to promote intellectual fairness and inclusion in all aspects of the curriculum, including the faculty hiring process, the spectrum of courses available, reading materials assigned, and in the decorum of the classroom and the campus public square.

Support of Academic Freedom

American Library Association (ALA)

See pages 4-6

Rebuttal to Students for Academic Freedom’s “Academic Bill of Rights”

Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

A strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community. The purpose of this statement is to provide an interpretation of general intellectual freedom principles in an academic library setting and, in the process, raise consciousness of the intellectual freedom context within which academic librarians work.

Three Ways Librarians Can Combat Censorship -  webinar

American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom

Start at 13:00 for story on right-leaning protestors, how this librarian handled the city hall hearing/book banning/partisanship

Legal Cases Affecting Academic Speech


Brief descriptions (1-6 paragraphs each) of 18 different court cases involving academic freedom. Most cases are post-2010, all are post-2005 (so pretty recent).

The Academic Freedom Double Standard: “Freedom” for Courtiers, Suppression for Critical Scholars - journal article (view entire article link on page)

AAUP JAF (Journal of Academic Freedom)

Abstract: Academicians are told that tenure and academic freedom protect us whenever we speak out and pursue political or provocative research. But more often than not, this autonomy is not afforded faculty who are of the wrong political persuasion, “race,” or religion. Suppression of academic freedom is especially pronounced for socially defined black faculty who critically examine white supremacy. This essay uses a cultural lens to examine why academic freedom is conditional and how its contingency is used to ensure that most faculty will not use their teaching and scholarship to foment the social seeds necessary to mobilize revolt against systemic oppressions.