"Free" = "freedom of inquiry" :

Academic freedom is the belief that the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment. Still, academic freedom has limits. In the United States, for example, according to the widely recognized "1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure", teachers should be careful to avoid controversial matter that is unrelated to the subject. When they speak or write in public, they are free to express their opinions without fear from institutional censorship or discipline, but they should show restraint and clearly indicate that they are not speaking for their institution. Academic tenure protects academic freedom by ensuring that teachers can be fired only for causes such as gross professional incompetence or behavior that evokes condemnation from the academic community itself.

The rationale for academic freedom:

Proponents of academic freedom believe that the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy. They argue that academic communities are repeatedly targeted for repression due to their ability to shape and control the flow of information. When scholars attempt to teach or communicate ideas or facts that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities, they may find themselves targeted for public vilification, job loss, imprisonment, or even death. For example, in North Africa, a professor of public health discovered that his country's infant mortality rate was higher than government figures indicated. He lost his job and was imprisoned.

Tthe French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles. In fact, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was formed by the splitting in 1970 of the same Université Libre de Bruxelles, which was founded in 1834 by the Flemish-Brussels lawyer Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen. He wanted to establish a university independent from state and church, where academic freedom would be prevalent.

This is today still reflected in the university's motto Scientia vincere tenebras, or Conquering darkness by science, and in its more recent slogan Redelijk eigenzinnig (Dutch), or Reasonably freethinking. Accordingly, the university is pluralistic — it is open to all students on the basis of equality regardless of their ideological, political, cultural or social background — and it is managed using democratic structures, which means that all members — from students to faculty — participate in the decision-making processes.

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Key Words and Concepts: Freedom, Concepts Freedom, Liberty, Negative liberty, Positive liberty, Rights, Freedom by area Civil, Economic, Intellectual, Political Freedoms, Assembly, Association, Movement, Press, Religion, Speech, Information, Thought, Free Thought.