June 23rd, 2015
I write as the president of the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign AAUP Chapter in response to John Braeman's comments in
the June 17 News-Gazette painting the American Association of University
Professors as a racist organization.
The concept of academic freedom is the professional parallel to the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantees.
In the same manner as unpopular ideas and utterance are protected by
the U.S. Constitution to be freely disseminated, academic freedom
guarantees that scholars are free from institutional prohibitions to
speak and write to be ultimately judged by their profession at large and
at their university. The University of Illinois has in place procedures
by which such judgments can be achieved.
For 100 years, the AAUP has firmly stood for and vigorously defended
academic freedom and shared governance, as well as other concepts.