Academic Freedom and Religiously Affiliated Universities

Liviu Andreescu


This paper explores the relationship between the principle of academic freedom and religiously-affiliated higher education. The arguments advanced are based on a general theory concerning the role of universities in a democratic society, and as such they are intended to apply to any such society, irrespective of the particulars of religious higher education in a specific national context. The article looks at three classes of arguments advanced against a “secular” standard of academic freedom: arguments on the nature of academic disciplines in religious colleges; arguments concerning the relationship between the institutional mission of religious universities and academic freedom; and arguments from democracy and religious freedom. The paper concludes that none of these arguments are successful in claiming a different standard of academic freedom for religiously-affiliated universities; and that, further, a “secular” standard leaves such institutions adequate room to express their religious dimension.


higher education; academic freedom; religious freedom; religious universities; institutional mission; religiously-affiliated institutions; faith; learning; secular

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