University and College Union

Academic Freedom Motion for UCU Congress 2017

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Academic Freedom

Congress instructs the NEC to bring to Congress in 2018 a statement in defence of Academic Freedom as an addition to UCU Rules Section 2 ‘Aims and Objects’.

In reflecting on the wording of this amendment the NEC will consider the Academics for Academic Freedom (AFAF) principles of Academic Freedom:

(1) that academics, both inside and outside the classroom, have unrestricted liberty to question and test received wisdom and to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions, whether or not these are deemed offensive, and

(2) that academic institutions have no right to curb the exercise of this freedom by members of their staff, or to use it as grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal.

(114 words)

The Rules of the University and College Union are silent on academic freedom – the freedom that defines the academy. In increasingly censorious times lecturers need their union to give the highest priority to academic freedom. The motion above is the first step towards creating a union that defends our fundamental freedom. It was passed unanimously by the East Midlands Region of UCU on Saturday 21 January – and also by the University of Derby. AFAF asks other UCU Branches and Regions to support this important motion at Congress on 27 – 29 May.

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