Northeastern University subscribes to the 1940 Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure issued by the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges, as amended in 1970. This policy applies to all individuals insofar as they are involved in teaching or scholarship at the University.

The University will impose no restraint upon the extramural pursuits of any member of the faculty unless the time devoted to that pursuit unduly interferes with their obligations to the University or violates the University’s Conflict of Commitment and Interest Policy or the Faculty Handbook module titled “Policy on Faculty Outside Professional Activities.”

The University will impose no limitations upon the freedom of faculty members in the exposition of the subjects they teach, either in the classroom or elsewhere. Classroom discussions, including of controversial matters, should serve pedagogical goals. The University will also impose no limitations upon the freedom of faculty members in research/scholarship/creative activity. However, faculty members are expected to exercise appropriate discretion and professional judgment.

The University assumes no responsibility for the extramural statements of faculty members. When appropriate, faculty members will make it clear that their statements are personal and are not sponsored or approved by the faculty or by Northeastern University.

Statement on Free Expression: A foundational principle of Northeastern University is that a global, multicultural, diverse and inclusive community is vital to learning, discovery, and innovation at the highest levels of human endeavor. Further, we believe that an institution of higher learning has a responsibility to foster a community that protects and supports free expression, welcomes open dialogue on critical issues, and maintains an inclusive educational environment where diverse views can be safely expressed and debated by community members in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect.

To embody these principles, Northeastern is a place for its community members to engage in open discourse on conflicting and diverse views and/or ideas, including those that others may find unwelcome, controversial, disagreeable, or even offensive. In the spirit of free expression, the university encourages professional, scholarly and respectful debate and critical thinking regarding differing views. In this way, we enhance and increase opportunities for learning and expanding thought perspectives through experience and engagement with those whose opinions and experiences differ from our own.

This statement on free expression is neither intended to contravene Northeastern’s long-standing policy regarding academic freedom, nor imply acceptance of discrimination on the basis of protected categories or other forms of communication or action that violate university policy.

  1. Approved by the Faculty Senate on 4/10/13 and approved by the Board of Trustees on 6/7/13; current language approved by the Faculty Senate on 2/14/18 and approved by the Board of Trustees on 4/13/2018.