by Cary Nelson | December 21, 2010
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Over the course of decades, a great many books, essays, and policies have been written and published about academic freedom. We have learned how to apply it to pedagogical, technological, cultural, and political realities that did not exist when the concept was first defined. Not only faculty members, administrators, trustees, and students, but also parents, politicians, and other members of the public, would now benefit from a concise summary of its major features. Sometimes academic freedom is invoked in situations where it doesn't actually apply. But many within and without higher education are not well-versed in all the protections it does provide. This statement is designed to help clarify both what academic freedom does and doesn't do.
These points are mostly adapted from nearly 100 years of American Association of University Professors policy documents and reports. Since its 1915 founding, the AAUP has been the primary source of the documents outlining the basic principles of faculty rights and responsibilities. It is also the source of perhaps the single best statement of student rights. Putting the principles above into practice, of course, requires a goodly amount of additional detail, information the AAUP continues to provide and update.