The University of Minnesota Board of Regents Policy on Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Guiding Principles

The Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota reaffirms the principles of academic freedom and responsibility. These are rooted in the belief that the mind is ennobled by the pursuit of understanding and the search for truth, and the state well served when instruction is available to all at an institution dedicated to the advancement of learning. These principles are also refreshed by the recollection that there is commune vinculum artibus, a common bond through all the arts.

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is the freedom, without institutional discipline or restraint, to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, and to speak or write on matters of public concern as well as on matters related to professional duties and the functioning of the University.

Academic Responsibility

Academic responsibility implies the faithful performance of professional duties and obligations, the recognition of the demands of the scholarly enterprise, and the candor to make it clear that when one is speaking on matters of public interest, one is not speaking for the institution.

Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure

The University's Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee, prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court case Garcetti v. Ceballos and local controversy over the showing of the film Troubled Waters, released a White Paper in December 2011, which clarifies the nature and scope of academic freedom and responsibility at the University. In particular, it notes that the protections defined by the Regents policy "extend to all University employees who engage in scholarly work."

Further Information

Interested parties may find the policy statements and reports of the American Association of University Professors informative, particularly the 1940 Statement on Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.


Graduate and professional students and postdocs who have concerns about academic freedom and responsibility – particularly in relation to their academic studies or work – are advised to address these concerns where they arise whenever possible. They may wish to discuss the issues with the parties involved or with an appropriate third party, such as the academic advisor, director of graduate studies, or department chair. Students and postdocs may wish to consult with the Graduate School for information or to connect with other University support services.