Academic Freedom

MAUT Statement of Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is central to McGill University’s mission of advancing learning through teaching, scholarship and service to society.

The scholarly members of the university have the freedom to conduct research and disseminate its results, through teaching, publication, exhibition and performance, without being constrained by political or disciplinary orthodoxies, monetary incentives or punitive measures as a result of their academic pursuits. They may exercise this freedom in the service of both the university and the wider society by promoting and informing debate, encouraging independent thinking and critical reflection, preserving and disseminating knowledge and fostering innovation and creativity.

The exercise of academic freedom requires collegial governance with the full participation of scholarly members. They retain the right of free expression, including the freedom to criticize one another, the university, its policies and its administration.

The university and its officers have a duty to protect the academic freedom of its scholarly community, both individually and collectively, from infringement by other members of the community as well as agents or agencies external to it. An essential element of academic freedom is the obligation of the university, its officers and its members to defend the community from the undue influence of governments, granting agencies, accreditation bodies, business partners, corporate and individual donors and societal pressures. The practice of academic freedom, personal and collective, asserts and demands the institutional autonomy of the University within society; respect for the institutional autonomy of the University does not, however, justify violation of academic freedom within the University itself.

Finally, the scholarly members of the university are entitled to participate in public forums and debates.  In doing so, they should represent their views as their own and not as those of the university.


For additional information regarding the background to the MAUT process, please see the article by Brendan Gillon in the March 2013 MAUT Newsletter, page 7.

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