Commentary: The Limits of Academic Freedom

September 18, 2023 1 min read

James Huffman
National Association of Scholars

Excerpt: Academics from across the political spectrum have appropriately objected to some recently proposed laws as threats to academic freedom and thereby to higher education’s historic mission—the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. The principle of academic freedom has long stood as the guarantor of the free and open inquiry requisite to the academic pursuit of truth and is widely understood to allow for no exceptions.

But adherence to the principle does not preclude all limits on faculty conduct. Academic freedom does not require colleges and universities to tolerate bad teaching or incompetence. Nor should it protect professorial conduct that undermines open inquiry and pursuit of truth.

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