The Influence of the First Amendment on Academic Freedom

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Academic freedom has gone through three distinct eras yet each era overlaps a great deal with the one following it. The first era was the bureaucratic. It was exemplified by the negotiations between administrators and professors in the 1920s. The American Association of University Professors and the American Association of Colleges began cooperating and a hierarchical structure emerged, with the tenured professor at the top of the faculty. The second era was the political era and it was mainly a result of loyalty oaths, which began after the first World War and then escalated again during the 1930s when communism ... continued below

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iv, 254 leaves

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Ferdon, Douglas Robert, 1945- May 1990.

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  • Ferdon, Douglas Robert, 1945-

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Academic freedom has gone through three distinct eras yet each era overlaps a great deal with the one following it. The first era was the bureaucratic. It was exemplified by the negotiations between administrators and professors in the 1920s. The American Association of University Professors and the American Association of Colleges began cooperating and a hierarchical structure emerged, with the tenured professor at the top of the faculty. The second era was the political era and it was mainly a result of loyalty oaths, which began after the first World War and then escalated again during the 1930s when communism became a major concern. The political era then gave way to the legal era when the first academic freedom cases went to the United States Supreme Court in the 1950s. The first cases were the result of political pressures that became legal pressures. Most of the early court cases were based on communism. The legal era has produced changes. There are now more rights; for students and teachers of all levels, including pre-college levels, are guaranteed some academic freedom rights. However, the First Amendment and academic freedom are not synonymous because a professor usually cannot win a case based solely on his free speech rights under academic freedom. It is only when academic freedom is guaranteed through some form of due process, custom or contract—and that guarantee has been violated—that a professor normally wins a suit. There are times, too, when a professor's free speech rights have been violated and she can then win a suit based on the First Amendment, but academic freedom is not always a part of the decision. Many times academic freedom is simply used as dictum in a decision that is, in fact, based on a different part of law such as contract law, public employee law, or a First Amendment violation. Academic freedom has been recognized by the courts but standing alone it is not usually sufficient to win a suit.

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iv, 254 leaves

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  • May 1990

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • May 25, 2016, 11:43 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Ferdon, Douglas Robert, 1945-. The Influence of the First Amendment on Academic Freedom, dissertation, May 1990; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332043/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .