Unsafe Space pp 118-128 | Cite as

Academic Freedom: The Threat from Within

  • Frank Furedi


Universities have always faced pressure to fall into line with the world-view of dominant political forces. Until the 1980s, the main victims of attacks on academic freedom were university teachers who expressed controversial views and who fell foul of influential political and economic interests. Back then, the main threat to academic freedom was from sources that were external to university life. In the contemporary era, however, the assault on academic freedom is increasingly being waged from within the institutions of higher education. In recent decades, there have been direct attacks on academic freedom from within universities themselves. It is no longer merely illiberal political voices that call for the silencing of dissident academics or the banning of controversial speakers; now, university administrators, teachers and students are often in the forefront of policing speech on campuses




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  1. 1.
    Autonomy, Social Responsibility and Academic Freedom, UNESCO, 1998, p. 13, unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001173/117320e.pdf.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    You Can’t Say That!: The Growing Threat To Civil Liberties From Antidiscrimination Laws, by David E Bernstein, Cato Institute, 2004, p. 67.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    ‘Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim’s Story’, by Mari Matsuda, In Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, And The First Amendment, Mari Matsuda et al (eds), Westview Press, 1993, p. 44.Google Scholar

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  • Frank Furedi

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