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NEA on Academic Freedom: Protect Free Speech and Academic Integrity

  • NEA opposes proposals that would that imply a federal role in directing, evaluating, promoting, or cajoling any aspect of speech in education by students, professors, classroom teachers, or anyone else.

  • NEA agrees with the fundamental principles of fairness, openness, and liberty in student speech in postsecondary education. We steadfastly defend the rights of all citizens, including all students and educators, to express their views under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

  • States, universities, community colleges, and K-12 systems have their own policies and practices for determining curricula, evaluating programs and employees, and resolving problems or disputes about fairness and protection of free speech. 

  • NEA also opposes politicization of professional programs on campus through creation of an International Higher Education Advisory Board. Establishment of this new board would undermine a longstanding bipartisan consensus that the federal government should respect academic freedom and independence. 

  • Current policy has been successful and should not be abandoned. The proposed Board could intrude into academic conduct and content of higher education and could impinge on institutional decisions about curriculum and activities.

  • Indeed, the powers vested in the proposed Board make it more of an investigative, rather than an advisory, body. At best, the Board would be duplicative — at worst, it would tarnish the Title VI program’s professional reputation in the university community both here and abroad. 

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