Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education. As the AAUP's core policy statement argues, "institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition" (1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure).

The AAUP Foundation supports projects that safeguard academic freedom to encourage free inquiry, promote the expansion of knowledge, and create an environment in which learning and research can flourish, thereby enhancing the quality of higher education and benefiting society. 

Recent Academic Freedom Grants

  • Supports costs of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure investigations, meetings, and reports. 2016 investigations include the College of Saint Rose (New York), the University of Missouri (Columbia), and the Community College of Aurora (Colorado). 2015 investigations included Felician College (New Jersey), the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ($360,000, 2016–18; $10,000, 2015)
  • Funds publication and distribution of portions of the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors addressing academic freedom issues. The annual Bulletin includes the previous year’s academic freedom and tenure investigative reports, reports of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, and committee reports on topics related to academic freedom. ($141,836, 2016–18)
  • Funds production costs for the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom. The open-access Journal is published annually in an electronic format and is the only academic journal that focuses exclusively on the global analysis of academic freedom and related issues. ($37,927, 2014–18)
  • Provided grants to support production of the documentary Agents of Change and outreach to AAUP chapters and conferences seeking to schedule screenings of the film. Agents of Change examines struggles to create black and ethnic studies programs in the 1960s and their legacy for campus activism today. ($2,500, 2016; $5,000, 2015)
  • Provided funds for legal defense and temporary financial assistance to support professor fired for using profanity. The board of the Academic Freedom Fund unanimously approved the request for funds for Teresa Buchanan of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, who is contesting her dismissal after 20 years at LSU. ($6,000, 2015)