Academic Freedom in Conflict
The Struggle Over Free Speech Rights in the University
For more than a century academics have had unique rights — to speak, teach, and write freely. Central to the case for academic freedom is that scholars must be able to voice their views free of fear in order for society to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our world and to be effective teachers.
Academic freedom has always faced challenges. Professors have been pressed to alter their work because it offends powerful interests — both inside and outside the university. Some have been fired or denied jobs for their political views, their criticisms of colleagues and administrators, and their refusal to buckle under corporate pressures to hush up research findings. The sixteen contributors to this volume cite many such instances in Canada and the U.S. More significantly, they point out how governments, corporations, and university administrators today are seeking to narrow academic freedom. Among them:
Major donors are acquiring control over university teaching and even hiring decisions
University administrators are firing professors with unpopular political views, while pretending that the reasons for their decisions lie elsewhere
Governments are using funding mechanisms to force-feed research in some areas, while shutting down inquiry in others
Campus-wide policies enforcing civility rules are preventing criticism and debate within a university
Judges are issuing decisions which reverse previous rulings supporting academic freedom in the U.S. and Canada
Together the contributors to this book examine attempts to restrict academic freedom and explore its legitimate limits.
James L Turk
The sixteen contributors to this book include many distinguished Canadian and U.S. scholars who have a special interest in academic freedom.