Regan T. Understanding the Appeal to Academic Freedom. Paper presented at: Alternatives in the Mainstream: Innovations in Life Science Education and Training. 2nd InterNICHE Conference; 2005 May 12-15; Oslo, Norway


When students request an alternative to using animals in the life sciences, hostile faculty fre-quently respond by appealing to their academic freedom to decide what will be taught and how it will be taught. History reveals the importance of this freedom, especially in light of those teachers whose freedom has been unfairly denied. Nevertheless, the appeal to academic freedom in the present context conceals more than it reveals. Concerns about the abridgement of this freedom deflect attention away from the culture that dominates the life sciences, a culture that includes a family of habits, expectations, and values. Unless or until these matters are addressed, appeals to academic freedom will not be understood.