Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date

1988

Abstract

I suspect Professor Rabban is right in saying that we have more than a semantic dispute. But it is difficult to identify our areas of substantive disagreement with any precision because of a major difference in the meanings that each of us ascribes to certain key words and phrases. The essence of my argument is as follows: What I call "the traditional American conception of academic freedom" justifies professional autonomy for faculty members as a means of furthering certain academic values. But the mechanism of faculty autonomy fails to protect these traditional academic values in the contemporary context of externally sponsored university research. In defining the terms of academic freedom and in articulating its underlying justification in this traditional conception, I rely primarily on two seminal policy statements of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP): the 1915 Declaration of Principles and the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. These statements define academic freedom as the freedom of faculty members to research and publish, to teach, and to speak or write as citizens. Although the AAUP statements do not explicitly identify the restraints from which academic freedom protects faculty members, they focus primarily on restraints imposed by university trustees and administrators. The statements justify academic freedom as an expedient means of furthering the academic values of inquiry, dissemination, critical objectivity, and professionalism. To avoid confusion with other conceptions of academic freedom, I refer to this particular conception as "the traditional American conception of academic freedom."' To distinguish -the substantive terms of academic freedom from its underlying rationale, I sometimes refer to the former as the "definition" of academic freedoms or "faculty autonomy" and to the latter as the "justification" for academic freedom or "academic values."


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