U. of Oregon’s New Academic-Freedom Policy Protects Students and Staff

The University of Oregon has adopted an academic-freedom policy that provides broad protections not just to faculty members, but to all of its employees, and also its students.

Michael R. Gottfredson, the university’s president, signed the measure on Wednesday, following its unanimous passage last month by the faculty senate.

The policy has been heralded as among the nation’s strongest by the institution’s fledgling faculty union, United Academics of the University of Oregon, which is affiliated with both the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers.

The policy applies broadly to “members of the university community,” including those employed as administrators and staff members. It covers speech connected to research, teaching, public service, and shared governance, offering university employees explicit assurances that they cannot be fired for speech related to campus policies.

“Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance,” the policy says. <Read more.>

Via Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education.