Academic freedom - the responsibility to speak your mind and challenge conventional wisdom - defines the university and stands as a model for open debate in wider society.
In today’s political climate it is harder than ever for academics to defend open debate.
Restrictive legislation, and the bureaucratic rules and regulations of government quangos and of universities themselves, have undermined academic freedom.
Many academics are fearful of upsetting managers and politicians by expressing controversial opinions. Afraid to challenge mainstream thought, many pursue self-censorship.
Academics for Academic Freedom (AFAF) is a campaign for all lecturers and researchers who want to make a public statement in favour of unimpeded enquiry and expression. That statement is set out below. Everyone should sign it using the on-line form.
Statement of Academic Freedom
'We, the undersigned, believe the following two principles to be the foundation of academic freedom:
(1) that academics, both inside and outside the classroom, have unrestricted liberty to question and test received wisdom and to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions, whether or not these are deemed offensive, and
(2) that academic institutions have no right to curb the exercise of this freedom by members of their staff, or to use it as grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal.'
From: http://www.afaf.org.uk/ [You can also sign the above statement online]