SEO Headline (Max 60 characters)

AAUP: U of Idaho Should Rescind Guidance on Abortion Speech

September 30, 2022

The American Association of University Professors in a statement Thursday urged the University of Idaho to walk back guidance telling faculty members and other employees to remain “neutral” on the topic of abortion or risk dismissal. The university has said it’s taking a “conservative” stance in light of new and existing state laws restricting abortion. But the AAUP says that the university’s administration “has abandoned its duty to uphold the mission of the institution and signaled to all the world that the university is no longer committed to academic freedom.”

If the administration’s view is that “limiting abortion is good public policy, then well-informed, reasoned discussion of the issue, including the opposing views of participants who hold strong views about it would be an ideal opportunity for that case to be made,” the statement continues. “Any advice to impose a gag order on faculty to limit or prohibit discussions in the classroom should be rejected immediately. The proposed guidance here is indefensible from the point of view of public health, public education, academic freedom, free speech, and even simple logic. It undercuts the university’s educational mission and discredits its reputation.”

The Academic Freedom Alliance sent the university a similar memo Thursday, saying that “We, of course, understand that the university wants to make faculty aware of their legal obligations and caution them about possible legal risks under state law. However, it is critical that universities assume a leadership posture in such situations and emphasize to state political leaders the importance of preserving academic freedom in state universities and the risks that they create with imperfectly crafted statutes and regulations.” The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression previously expressed similar sentiments.

Share Article

Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

Back to Top