GSE Events

Virtual Forum: International Students and Academic Freedom at the American University

Add to Calendar Icon 2020-11-19 13:00 2020-11-19 14:00 15 Penn GSE Event: Virtual Forum: International Students and Academic Freedom at the American University A virtual panel discussing International Students and Academic Freedom at Universities in America. The panel features Penn GSE Professor Jon Zimmerman, Penn Law Professor Jacques deLisle, and Associate Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Amy Gadsden, and a welcome from Dean Grossman.
Zoom – RSVP Required
Lizzie Petela DD/MM/YYYY
Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Zoom – RSVP Required
Program for the event, showing photographs of the panelists.

Freedom of expression is a hallmark of the American University. It pervades the classrooms, the materials collected and protected in its libraries, museums, and archives, and the daily life of the campus. Free speech and academic freedom are embedded in the culture of the university and shape the topics addressed in lectures and seminars and the questions pursued by researchers and debated by all members of the community. Some topics chosen for study and inquiry are controversial and challenge prevailing norms and beliefs and some attract scrutiny from the wider community. On occasion that scrutiny can extend to governments limiting access to materials and monitoring what is said in class and on campus. When classes are delivered across national borders, opportunities for surveillance and censorship increase and students and faculty can feel threatened or be deterred from fully engaging in academic exchanges.

 These issues have been with us for some time but have become more pressing and more apparent with the widespread shift to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for us to re-examine our practices and to elaborate on our thinking about academic freedom as the technology of teaching and learning evolves. As more learning opportunities move onto a range of digital platforms, how can we protect our students' safety and our faculty members’ freedoms alongside their right to full and free discussion, which lie at the heart of the university ideal?

This forum brings together people from different disciplines and with different responsibilities within the university because this issue is not simply a technology problem or an issue of process. Nor is it confined to the humanities or the sciences. And it is not a topic that only affects one nation or one group. It is a fundamental issue for the academic community at large. Our aim is to stimulate more systematic inquiry into these issues and to promote wider understanding of the principles of academic freedom and how they are expressed in an age of digital delivery.

Event Contact

Lizzie Petela