Universities are primary sites for developing one’s intellect, for expressing one’s views, and for receiving information. Academic freedom is essential to cognitive liberty. If our institutions of higher learning are censoring certain ideas, denying students or professors the right to explore novel concepts, or preventing individuals from developing their minds in their own unique ways, then freedom of thought is an empty promise. Likewise, academic institutions are entitled under the First Amendment to remain free from government influence in matters of who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who shall be admitted for study.

See also
Book Banning


FBI Begins Visiting Libraries
June 24, 2002, Washington Post

"WASHINGTON –– The FBI is visiting libraries nationwide and checking the reading records of people it suspects of having ties to terrorists or plotting an attack, library officials say."

Academic Freedom in the USA
(c) 1999, 2000 by Ronald B. Standler

“Academic freedom is an amorphous quasi-legal concept that is neither precisely defined nor convincingly justified from legal principles. These two defects make the law of academic freedom difficult to understand. I have no doubt that academic freedom is important and desirable. My concern is that professors in the USA may believe that academic freedom is a valid legal doctrine with power and vitality, when – in fact – it is often only empty rhetoric by professors and judges.”

Intellectual Freedom Statement
American Library Association’s Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

“Creative thought is, by its nature, new. New ideas are always different and, to some people, distressing and even threatening. The creator of every new idea is likely to be regarded as unconventional -- occasionally heretical -- until his idea is first examined, then refined, then tested in its political. social or moral applications. The characteristic ability of our governmental system to adapt to necessary change is vastly strengthened by the option of the people to choose freely from among conflicting opinions. To stifle nonconformist ideas at their inception would be to end the democratic process.”

International Federation of Library Association and Institutions 

"The IFLA/FAIFE Committee and Office furthers free access to information and freedom of expression in all aspects, directly or indirectly, related to libraries and librarianship. IFLA/FAIFE monitors the state of intellectual freedom within the library community worldwide, supports IFLA policy development and cooperation with other international human rights organisations, and responds to violations of free access to information and freedom of expression."

Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association

"The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries."
   “Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.” — Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A

On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes
Policy statement from the American Association of University Professors

“On a campus that is free and open, no idea can be banned or forbidden. No viewpoint or message may be deemed so hateful or disturbing that it may not be expressed.”

If you would like to expound on any of these issues or suggest additional resources, please contact us at info@cognitiveliberty.org.

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