To stop the defamation of the Jewish people... to secure justice and fair treatment to all
Free Speech on Campus
Building and Effective Response Strategy
Anti-Semitism: Prejudice and Discrimination Against Jews
When Does Criticism of Israel Become Anti-Semitism
Frequently Asked Questions
Responding to Anti-Israel Campaigns on College and University Campuses
Free Speech on Campus
Speech in the Classroom
Updated: January 20, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court has maintained a deep commitment to safeguarding academic freedom, which is of “transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned.”1  As the Court held, “the classroom is peculiarly the ‘marketplace of ideas.’” Id.

Faculty speech is almost always protected from discipline by principles of academic freedom. The ideal of academic freedom demands that faculty members on university campuses be free to develop and espouse original and controversial ideas. Universities that have attempted to silence or remove faculty members for unpopular speech have faced significant pressure and condemnation from the academic community.  For these reasons, most universities are reluctant to regulate the speech of their professors both in and out of the classroom.

Similarly, just as faculty speech is protected, professors are not permitted to penalize students based on their political or religious perspectives.  Further, academic freedom protections may not extend to topics outside the curriculum. In its 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors maintained that “teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.”2  This sentiment remains a foundation of professionalism in the field.

1Keyishian v. Board of Regents of University of State of NY, 385 U.S. 589 (1967).

2 American Association of University Professors 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

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Fighting Back: A Handbook for Responding to Anti-Israel Rallies on College and University Campuses (.pdf - 248kb requires Acrobat Reader )
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