Academic Freedom is central to the mission and fabric of universities, is an essential and defining characteristic, and underpins their independence.

A free and open society needs those with expertise having the capacity to follow where the research takes them and to provide the public with informed opinion. 

But academic freedom is under attack. As universities increasingly turn themselves into corporate businesses, their commitment to defending their “brand” is leading to them seeking to prevent academic staff from speaking out on their areas of expertise. 

Increasingly academics have needed to go to the Courts (including all the way to the High Court) to defend their right to comment. An environment that stifles public debate and seeks to direct research away from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of profit, is contributing to many good minds leaving to work elsewhere. 

This is an issue that is core to the sector, core to the profession, core to quality teaching and research, and ultimately core to the country’s future.  

We can aim higher to stop the erosion of academic freedom through lobbying, campaigning, and taking direct action to repair the fabric of our universities. 

Want to find out more?

Read our policies on Academic Freedom  
Read the NTEU response to the French Model Code for Freedom of Speech/Academic Freedom