The London Universities' Council for Academic Freedom is an academic-led and non-partisan organisation which is committed to supporting academic freedom.
We aim to facilitate and encourage collaboration between academics within London universities with the goal of developing, sharing and supporting good practice, and providing mutual aid and solidarity, to support academic freedom within our institutions and beyond.
The principle of academic freedom safeguards the pursuit of knowledge and truth, which is central to the mission of higher education. The freedom to share, discuss and challenge ideas is essential to both education and research. Students deserve an open and tolerant educational environment where they can develop the skills of critical engagement. Academic freedom underpins the ability of scholars to deliver knowledge as a public good in a democracy.
- Free Inquiry. We advocate for academic freedom within the law in teaching, research, artistic expression, and speech.
- Intellectual Diversity. We believe that universities must support pluralism and should promote thoughtful engagement with a range of views. Universities should not adopt institutional positions on contested issues.
- Civil Discourse. We encourage open, honest, courageous and reasoned discussion of controversial ideas, in and outside of the classroom, in a spirit of having respect for people even while one does not necessarily respect their beliefs. We oppose harassment and discrimination against university staff and students, including on the basis of their beliefs and lawful expression of their views. We support the right to protest and criticise but oppose attempts to obstruct the freedom of others to express their lawful views.
What we do
- Visibility: By providing a place for London academics to publicly endorse the principle of academic freedom, we demonstrate the strength and breadth of support for academic freedom at London universities. We make it easier for academics who support academic freedom to find each other and work together towards shared goals in their institutions and disciplines and beyond.
- Knowledge development and sharing: We will develop resources to support academics in influencing their institutional policies and practices to promote academic freedom. We will hold events, disseminate information, and participate in consultations which relate to our mission.
View our activities page to find out more about our events and our policy development process.
We do not have resources to provide individual support for academics who have suffered a violation of their academic freedom. Academics in this position may consider contacting the Free Speech Union, their local UCU branch and/or the Office for Students.
If you agree with our principles, please join us to register your support. You can choose whether your details appear on this website and can optionally request to receive our occasional newsletter.