Skip to Main Content

Academic Freedom

This guide is designed to provide some sources for research on the complex issue of academic freedom

Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) Statement on Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom and Christian Higher Education

by Rick Ostrander, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professional Programs, CCCU  

"ACADEMIC FREEDOM IS the right of the professor to a degree of freedom in teaching and research, subject to professional standards of competence, relevance, and respect... It is a foundational value of the academy."

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and Academic Freedom

American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

The AAUP definition of academic freedom:

  1. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  2. 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. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
  3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.

The AAUP website includes Resources on Academic Freedom

Pepperdine Chapter of AAUP

Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago

Academic Freedom at Pepperdine

The Provost's statement on academic freedom reiterating a portion of the tenure policy:

Statement of Academic Freedom
The Tenure Policy of Pepperdine University, Section XI states:

The University realizes that academic freedom and economic security are essential for acquiring and maintaining a strong faculty. The faculty member must enjoy that freedom characteristic of the best in higher education as it has developed in Western culture. A faculty member, while recognizing a special responsibility to the University as a contributing scholar, requires freedom of discussion in the classroom and freedom of professional research and publication of results. Dedicated to the free pursuit of truth, a faculty member should consider it a basic duty to encourage freedom of inquiry in peers and in students.

While abiding by and supporting the policies, ideals, and procedures of the University, the faculty member has the right of peacefully seeking revision of policies. Free inquiry and the pursuit of truth are indispensable conditions for the attainment of the goals of any university. A faculty member, while enjoying academic freedom, shares responsibility with the administration for the preservation of this freedom. Therefore, a faculty member is free in the quest for truth within a broad but intricate framework of responsibility to colleagues and students as sharers in this quest, to the University with its ideals and purposes, and to society with its basic mores and morals.

Pepperdine Libraries Academic Freedom Statement
[for complete statement see]

For librarians at Pepperdine University, academic freedom includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • The right to recommend for purchase library materials that might be controversial
  • The right to provide reference assistance in response to controversial questions
  • The right to publish and conduct scholarly research
  • The right to join and participate in professional organizations to encourage intellectual and social diversity

Pepperdine University librarians have the following responsibilities:

  • To fulfill their functions and academic roles with competence, integrity and to the best of their abilities.
  • To perform their academic functions in accordance with the highest ethical and workplace standards.
  • To exercise their rights with responsibility and without prejudice to the rights of others and in compliance with the mission and the needs of the Pepperdine community.

Pepperdine Libraries supports the free exchange of ideas and aspires to build collections that include all points of view.

Pepperdine Libraries affirms the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. 

News on Academic Freedom