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) was founded in 2006 as a campaigning group for all lecturers, academic-related staff, students and researchers who wanted to defend unimpeded enquiry and expression. It began with a statement of Academic Freedom which lecturers and others could sign but has since taken up the case for free speech and academic freedom around the world. AFAF is also heavily involved in case work much of which never hits the headlines.