Academic Freedom Quiz Answers

Here are the answers to the quiz questions:

1. Academic freedom is:
a) an inherent right granted to faculty
b) a protection guaranteed to those who have a faculty contract
c) a privilege granted to faculty by individual institutions
d) all of the above

The answer is (c). According to the article “a key to understanding academic freedom is the fact that academic freedom is not an inherent right for faculty and others seeking its benefits…It is actually a privilege granted by individual universities. Each university defines academic freedom for its campus.

2. A tenured professor directs a member of your library staff not to remove from the stacks several “library use only” books that need bibliographic maintenance work because she may need to refer to them at any time for her studies. Academic freedom gives the faculty member the right to do so. True or False?

The answer is False. In granting academic freedom to faculty there are limitations. Typically one of them is that academic freedom does not give faculty the right to impede freedom of movement of students, school officials, employees and invited guests to the university. While it is likely academic librarians would want to make every effort to support faculty research, it is not necessary to acquiesce to faculty demands that fall outside the “pursuit of truth.”

3. Academic freedom is not a guarantee of freedom of speech. True or false?

The answer is true. According to the article “While academic freedom is related to freedom of speech they are not the same thing”. Freedom of speech is a constitutional right and typically relates to interaction with the government, not one’s employer. Since academic freedom is granted as a privilege by an institution it cannot guarantee a constitutional right.

4. Both tenured and tenure-track faculty enjoy the benefits of academic freedom? True or false?

The answer is false. The protections of academic freedom are not available until they have been granted as a result of completing the tenure process successfully.

5. For academic librarians, having traditional intellectual freedom typically means:

a) a guaranteed right of free speech
b) a commitment to ensuring users’ access to information
c) a right to enjoy the protections of academic freedom even if not tenured
d) a form of academic freedom that applies only to collection development work

The correct answer is (b). While academic freedom can incorporate the concepts of intellectual freedom, intellectual freedom does not offer all the protections of academic freedom. According to the article “intellectual freedom ecompasses the essential principles of freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression stated in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” For librarians, according to the article, intellectual freedom focuses “more on access to information than on freedom of expression”. The ALA Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries “also emphasizes access and accessibility, and mention the need for confidentiality and protection of the privacy of users, but do not mention academic freedom”. In other words academic librarians should promote and defend their users’ intellectual freedom.

6. Which one of these organizations was the first to issue an official statement regarding the right to intellectual freedom:

a) american association of university professors
b) american library association
c) american civil liberties union
d) united nations

The correct answer, according to the article, is (b). The American Library Association first issued, in 1948, Article IV of the ALA Library Bill of Rights a few months prior to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the UN Declaration is a broader statement addressing intellectual freedom.

Score yourself:

Perfect score – You are an academic freedom genius!
4-5 – Nice job! You have a good understanding of academic freedom.
2-3 – You need to read the Danner and Bintliff article.
1 or less – You have work to do. Start by reading the AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure

2 thoughts on “Academic Freedom Quiz Answers

  1. If the answer to 1 is c), then the answer to 4 could be true or false, depending on the precise nature of each individual institution’s definition. Dr. Bell’s own institution grants academic freedom rights to “the teacher,” not to “the tenured professor.”

  2. woo-hoo, I got a perfect score, thanks to
    a) 12 years as a tenured professor
    b) various stints in academic administration
    c) LIS and LIS-related coursework
    d) all of the above

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