Publication Year


ISBN: 9781459406292-01

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Professors Beware:

The Evolving Threat of “Institutional” Academic Freedom

From: Academic Freedom in Conflict


Constitutional scholar David Rabban examines the increasing prominence of the concept of “institutional academic freedom” in American constitutional law and its implications. He argues it “threatens to overwhelm, and even to eliminate, First Amendment academic freedom as an individual right of professors.”



David M. Rabban

DAVID M. RABBAN is Dahr Jamail, Randall Hage Jamail, and Robert Lee Jamail Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law and is a member of the University’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1974, he practised union-side labour law in New York City. He joined the legal staff of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) as associate counsel in 1976 and became counsel in 1980. Since 1983, he has taught at the University of Texas School of Law. His publications have focused on labour law, the law of academic freedom, the history of free speech, and intellectual legal history. His book, Free Speech in Its Forgotten Years was the co-winner of the Morris D. Forkosch Prize presented by the Journal of the History of Ideas for “the best book in intellectual history published in 1997” and the Eli M. Oboler Award of the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Round Table for “the most significant work on intellectual freedom published in 1996 and 1997.” His most recent publication is Law’s History: American Legal Thought and the Transatlantic Turn to History. He served as general counsel of the AAUP from 1998 to 2006 and as Chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure from 2006 to 2012.