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Academic freedom, free expression and whistleblowing

10 December 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Views are being sought from UCU members on the issue of academic freedom and freedom of expression across UK further and higher education.

A new discussion document has now been published after two motions were passed on the issues of academic freedom and freedom of expression during UCU's first Congress meeting earlier this year. The first motion outlined the rights and responsibilities of academic and related staff in further and higher education, while the second focused on the freedom to conduct one's own research, particularly as a result of pressures resulting from the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in higher education.

Rob Copeland, UCU policy officer, said: 'The two motions highlight the complex, multi-layered nature of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The UCU discussion paper is designed to encourage a debate among members about these important issues.

'In particular, the paper briefly outlines some of the key threats to academic freedom and freedom of expression in post-compulsory education, the main legislative protections that currently exist, and the importance of the international framework, particularly the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel. The paper also poses a number of questions and issues on which we would welcome comment.'

Responses are particularly welcome from members in further as well as higher education.

Further information: circular UCU60 (.html) | circular UCU60 (.rtf)

Initial comments should be sent to Rob Copeland by 14 January 2008.