Academic freedom and free speech are not interchangeable terms: Opinion


The terms “academic freedom” and “free speech” are frequently used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing, writes Matt Reed for Inside Higher Ed. Reed argues that academic freedom is about exploring ideas – no matter how unpopular – that are relevant to the job, while free speech is more commonly involved when irrelevant topics creep into classroom discussions. The author asserts that the latter is a more frequent on-the-ground reality and can detract from achieving student learner outcomes. Reed calls for moderation when it comes to covering topics beyond the scope of the course content and asserts that this practice is not an issue of free speech, but rather of job performance.

Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.)