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Threats to Academic Freedom: Do Campuses and Courts Care?

Tuesday May 2009


Donald A. Downs Professor, University of Wisconsin

Introduction: John Leo, Senior Fellow, Center for the American University; Editor,

From Ward Churchill at Colorado to speech codes, our colleges and universities are riddled with conflicts over academic freedom. But do we really know what academic freedom means? Do we even know who has a right to it? The answer may come as a surprise.

Donald A. Downs, professor of political science, law, and journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a consultant on academic freedom issues, offers guidance for deciding when and where academic freedom rightly applies. Downs will draw from his new paper, “Academic Freedom: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to Tell the Difference,” just published by the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.