On academic freedom

This study explores the history of academic freedom in America through the focus of three interpretive models–the Gentleman Scientist Model, the Liberty Model, and the Professional Model–to show how the concept evolved over the past century. It examines violations of academic freedom, AAUP statements, and debates about the meaning of academic freedom to show how it remains a contested concept. It concludes that by studying the origins and changes in the idea of academic freedom in America, current controversies can be better understood.

That is a dissertation abstract, and the dissertation is fascinating.

During the Great War, the AAUP decided the concept of academic freedom did not apply, and condemned rather than support the many faculty dismissed for their antiwar beliefs. The Nation was appalled.

The Nation magazine criticized the AAUP report as “a serious disappointment” arguing that “By rejecting this principle, the committee, for the period of the war, hands over the keys of the castle to the enemy…” and “jeopards the very conception of a university” (“The Professors in Battle Array,” 1918). The Nation argued, “surely the university, as the home of freedom, should not go out of its way to impose on its members, in addition to these, other restrictions that are not laid on other members of the community” (“The Professors in Battle Array,” 1918).


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