SAR United States

Session IV: Who’s in charge here? Making the Case for Institutional Autonomy

Legislation over faculty political views looms in the Iowa General Assembly. In Arkansas, House Bill 1218 aims to prohibit public colleges and universities from allowing classes, activities, or events that promote “division between, or resentment of, or social justice for” any race, gender, political affiliation, or social class.” Similar state impositions on institutional autonomy have gained traction in Georgia and Florida.

Autonomy works to ensure the decisions about teaching, research, and academic standards, management, and related activities are made by those adequately trained within the scholarly community–not according to outside interference, be they political, commercial or in other forms. Using the case examples as a jumping off point, we will discuss the necessity for self-governance in decision-making and leadership to fulfill higher education’s public mission.