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.
The origin of AFAF
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 that lecturers, and others, could sign but has since taken up the case for free speech and academic freedom throughout the UK and Ireland. AFAF is also heavily involved in case work much of which never hits the headlines.
AFAF is currently in the process of finding a physical home and to seek registration as either a charity or a limited company.
Who we are
AFAF has a core team made up of the director, three legal advisors, an events manager (who also keeps in contact with our network of correspondents) and others with specific responsibilities (e.g., compiling ‘The ‘Banned’ List). Offers of help are welcome.