Academic Freedom

This section was extracted from the University Faculty Senate (UFS) Statement on Academic Freedom. For full statement, click here.

Academic freedom is a professional right of the faculty. It consists in the freedom to teach, research, write, and to speak in their public capacity without restraint by the administration. As a professional right, academic freedom differs from the Constitutional right to freedom of speech and assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment in the sense that academic freedom is the necessary condition for faculty members to fulfill their professional obligations and responsibilities as teachers, researchers and writers.

Academic Freedom at CUNY

As cited in the UFS statement on academic freedom, CUNY has affirmed its support for academic freedom five times since their statement of 1946.

At CUNY, as at other reputable institutions of higher education, academic freedom informs the entire academic community: the free exchange of ideas applies to students choosing a course of study, to faculty pursuing scholarly research and teaching, and to institutions admitting students, appointing faculty, and setting standards. A condition of mutual respect enables the existence of this many-faceted scholarly discourse.

City University of New York’s central functions of teaching, learning, research, and scholarship depend upon an atmosphere in which freedom of inquiry, thought, expression, publication, and peaceable assembly are given the fullest protection. Expression of the widest range of viewpoints should be encouraged, free from institutional orthodoxy and internal or external coercion. Further, the holding of appointments at CUNY should in no way affect the faculty members’ rights assured by the Constitution of the United States.

In furtherance of these general principles, decisions concerning the support and sponsorship of scholarly research shall be made without regard to a person’s political, social, or other views not directly related to academic values or the assumption of academic responsibilities.

Protecting Academic Freedom at CUNY

Faculty, who form the core of the University, must be free from a climate of intimidation.

Remember, if you believe that your academic freedom has been or is being threatened or violated, contact the UFS Office  646-664-9035 or by email and the Professional Staff Congress at 212-354-1252 immediately, and alert your faculty governance leader and your campus academic freedom committee. An attack on any one faculty member’s academic freedom is an attack on all and on the institution itself.