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Issues of Academic Freedom in Interference with Invited Speakers (1983)
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Issues of Academic Freedom in Interference with Invited Speakers
On Issues of Academic Freedom in Interference with Invited Speakers
In recent weeks there have been widely reported accounts of several instances in which the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, invited to address a university audience, was prevented from completing her remarks because of disruptions by persons in attendance, presumably because they disagreed with her views or those of the administration which she represents. On one occasion, an invitation to her to serve as commencement speaker was withdrawn by college officials because they could not assure her security while visiting the campus.
The Association's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, responding to these incidents as it has to similar incidents on previous occasions, emphasizes that the freedom to hear is an essential condition of a free university and an inseparable part of academic freedom. Committee A deplores interference with the right of members of an academic community to hear on campus those whom they have invited to speak. The right to access to speakers on campus does not in its exercise imply either advance agreement or disagreement with what may be said, or approval or disapproval of the speaker as an individual. There can be no more appropriate forum for the discussion of controversial ideas and issues than the college and university campus.
Committee A reaffirms its expectation that all members of the academic community will respect the right of others to listen to those who have been invited to speak on campus and will indicate disagreement not by disruptive action designed to silence the speaker but by reasoned debate and discussion as befits academic freedom in a community of higher learning.
Approved by Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure,
March 24, 1983