The freedom code

May 20, 2010

Your article "'Freedom to say anything to anyone' is not what we need" (6 May) failed to recognise the centrality of academic freedom to lecturers' roles as professionals, their contracts of employment and how they work within the academic community.

The definition offered in the 1988 Education Act may require updating, but its core principle should remain the foundation of academic freedom. At a time when the government appears to privilege certain forms of research over others, when companies insert terms into contracts that curtail the right of researchers to publish their findings, and when universities attempt to tighten control over intellectual property, academic freedom must be defended.

This right should encompass the ability to speak out against management decisions and express unpopular views without fear of reprisal. Codes of behaviour protecting staff when they "whistle-blow" and statutes that identify their rights of free speech must be enacted. In short, academic freedom must be broadened and strengthened.

Ron Mendel, Branch secretary, University and College Union, University of Northampton.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Chair in Law UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL (MAIN OFFICE)
User Acceptance Testing Technician CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT
Director of Teaching and Learning UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Globalisation

Times Higher Education World University Rankings data reveal the top 200 most outward-looking institutions

Common cactus finch (Geospiza scandens)

Tiffany Taylor on a thought-provoking view of the forces acting to ensure survival

Stressed businessman answering four telephones

Some surveys show faculty putting in at least 60 hours a week, but research casts doubt on whether this is a productive routine

Student asking question during class

University of Reading research finds link between undergraduate satisfaction and ethnicity of lecturers

Level of quality compass

Authors argue this means universities should spend less on senior academics and give promising younger scholars more of a chance