Academic Freedom in Higher Education and the CSU

Academic freedom is foundational to work in the academy. With it, we are able to create and disseminate knowledge, teach difficult and controversial subject matter, and have the voice to explore world knowledge from many perspectives. Today, the rights of academic freedom are glaringly important.

We have faculty who take and defend unpopular positions on principle: we have climate scientists who talk frankly about the effects of climate change; creative writers who imagine things some people may find disturbing; artists who challenge our perception; social scientists who talk about new different and systems to create real justice in the world; librarians who protect our right to information; counselors who defend and protect the rights of students seeking help; and coaches who often serve as special mentors and protect their student athletes.

The preamble of the Collective Bargaining Agreement summarizes the academic freedom rights of faculty:

It is the purpose of the parties in entering this Agreement to promote high standards of education in the CSU. The CSU shall support the pursuit of excellence and academic freedom in teaching, research, and learning through the free exchange of ideas among the faculty.

The parties recognize that quality education requires an atmosphere of academic freedom and academic responsibility. The parties acknowledge and encourage the continuation of academic freedom while recognizing that the concept of academic freedom is accompanied by a corresponding concept of responsibility to the University and its students.

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