Academic Freedom - Law and Higher Education
The concept of academic freedom, although not enumerated in the First Amendment, is based on freedom of speech and applies generally to all levels of education. In its broadest sense, academic freedom is the right to teach or speak freely without reprisal. Disputes over classroom content and methodology typically pit the more commonly recognized faculty academic freedom to teach what and how educators deem appropriate against the institutional academic freedom of colleges and universities to determine the curriculum and programs on their campuses. Educators presume that academic freedom provides greater protection of their campus actions than case law supports. Based on the notion that academic freedom applies to institutions rather than individuals, courts generally side with colleges and universities when faculty members refuse to follow curricular policies and administrative directives, use or allow objectionable language in the classroom, or criticize their colleagues and institutions in ways not protected by the First Amendment.
- Bonnell v. Lorenzo, 241 F.3d 800 (6th Cir. 2001).
- Dambrot v. Central Michigan University, 55 F.3d 1177 (6th Cir. 1995).
- Fossey, R., & Beckham, J. C. (2008). University authority over teaching activities: Institutional regulation may override a faculty member’s academic freedom. West’s Education Law Reporter, 228, 1–22.
- Hardy v. Jefferson Community College, 260 F.3d 671 (6th Cir. 2001).
- Hiers, R. H. (2002). Institutional academic freedom vs. faculty academic freedom in public colleges and universities: A dubious dichotomy. Journal of College & University Law, 29, 35–110.
- Keyishian v. Board of Regents of University of State of New York, 385 U.S. 589 (1967).
- Maples v. Martin, 858 F.2d 1546 (11th Cir. 1988).
- Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Education v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977).
- Parate v. Isibor, 868 F.2d 821 (6th Cir. 1989).
- Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479 (1960).
- Urofsky v. Gilmore, 216 F.3d 401 (4th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1070 (2001).