Academic Freedom

Freedom of Expression's Vulnerable Child


  • Mark Gabbert University of Manitoba


Academic freedom, intramural expression, extramural expression, constitutional rights to free speech


This paper is anchored in a concern that too great a focus on the limits to academic freedom risks overlooking its origins and dependence upon freedom of expression writ large. We ignore at our peril the crucial importance of the broader right of freedom of expression as fundamental to academic freedom. It is not only in protecting the intramural and extramural rights of academic speech that a robust defense of freedom of expression is necessary. Even in the realm of strictly disciplinary work this is critical. For to mitigate the risk of creating our own "prescribed doctrines" in the form of disciplinary norms requires the broadest respect for dissent on the part of individual academics. Moreover, preserving the free exercise of the core functions of teaching and research demands the vigorous defense of freedom of expression in the external world governed by the public authorities. Finally, any restrictions on free expression in the extramural or intramural realms, will lead inevitably to professorial self-censorship in the work of teaching and research.



2021-03-19 — Updated on 2021-03-30

How to Cite

Gabbert, M. (2021). Academic Freedom: Freedom of Expression’s Vulnerable Child. CAUT Journal. Retrieved from