Academic Freedom and Tenure: Ethical Issues
Academic freedom and tenure, both cherished institutions of higher education, are currently under attack by many both outside and within the academy. Richard DeGeorge argues that they can be defended on ethical grounds only if they are joined with appropriate accountability, publicly articulated and defended standards, and conscientious enforcement of these standards by academic institutions and the members of the academic community. He discusses the ethical justification of tenure and academic freedom, as well as ethical issues in their implementation. He argues that academic freedom, which is the basis for tenure, is not license nor the same as freedom of speech. Properly understood and practiced, both academic freedom and tenure exist not to benefit faculty members or their institutions, but to benefit an open society in which they thrive and of which they are an important part.
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