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 late 2006 as a campaigning group for all lecturers, academic-related staff, students and researchers who wanted to defend unimpeded inquiry 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.
In 2022 AFAF began to establish branches and a formal membership network that is open to anyone who has signed the AFAF Statement of Academic Freedom.
AFAF is listed with Companies House as Academics For Academic Freedom Limited (14924197). Registered Office Address: 167-169 Great Portland Street, (Fifth Floor), London, W1W 5PE.