AHA Council Endorses Academic Freedom Decision

In response to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the American Association of University Professors recommendation urging accreditors “to take steps to ensure that the protection of academic freedom is a central concern in their evaluation of higher-education institutions,” the Council of the American Historical Association approved the following statement of support:

Academic freedom is an essential component of the educational mission; in order to advance and disseminate knowledge, scholars must be able to teach and conduct research with confidence that that they can express their views and report their findings without fear of reprisal. Therefore the American Historical Association welcomes and lends its support to the advisory statement issued jointly on November 20, 2012, by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the American Association of University Professors; the statement proposes specific actions on the part of accrediting organizations “to sustain and enhance the importance and centrality of academic freedom” to institutions of higher learning. Recognizing that such organizations play “a pivotal role in the public assurance of educational quality,” the AHA supports the view that the accreditation process should promote the “fundamental meaning and essential value” of academic freedom in the face of “inappropriate influences from external centers of power—public and private.”

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