Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 5-25

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Academic Freedom in Higher Education Within a Conservative Sociopolitical Culture


This paper examines the potential threat that a conservative sociopolitical culture poses to academic freedom in state colleges and universities. Already a number of states are considering legislation that would restrict professors’ rights to discuss political issues within their classes, especially political issues having religious or moral implications. The proposed legislation would permit professors to discuss political issues substantively linked to the official subject matter of courses, but would limit professors’ role in such discussion to one of political neutrality. The paper addresses the possibility of discussing controversial sociopolitical issues in college and university classes without alienating an institution’s external support base.


Academic freedom Political conservatism Political liberalism Information sources