Task Force on Academic Freedom

Last year, we convened a task force of faculty and students from across the university to develop a statement of principles on academic freedom.

In our mandate to the task force, we observed that Johns Hopkins’ commitment to academic freedom dates back to our founding, and that freedom of inquiry and expression is essential to the trailblazing education, research, and service that are the signatures of our university. And yet it was striking that, unlike so many of our peers, we did not have a formal university statement on academic freedom, one that would give expression to our core values in this area and serve as a touchstone for our community in considering the often-challenging questions that academic freedom can raise.

A statement of this sort would not seek to resolve in advance every dispute that might arise or offer an exhaustive analysis of the history of academic freedom. Rather, we anticipated that the task force would offer a forward-looking articulation of values to guide the university in decades to come. We asked the task force to consult widely, consider the issue broadly, and look to the approaches of our peers, and then ultimately to provide to us its recommendation for a statement of principles.

Over the past year, the task force reviewed extensive background materials on the topic of academic freedom; received the views of faculty, staff, students, and alumni from every corner of the university; and met many times to deliberate the appropriate bounds of these principles.

The task force has now completed its work, and it has submitted its recommended statement.

Before sending the statement to the board of trustees for approval, we would like to invite all of you to provide your thoughts. You can find the recommendation of the task force to the right. We invite you to provide feedback on this page, or submit your comments to academicfreedom@jhu.edu. We ask that you offer any comments by Friday, May 8, 2015.

We would be remiss if we did not take a moment to express our gratitude to the members of the task force, listed below, for their service to the university. We especially thank Professor of Political Science Emeritus and Academy Professor Joel Grossman, who chaired the task force and steered its work on an issue of such central importance to all that we do.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Ronald J. Daniels

Robert C. Lieberman
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Joel Grossman, Professor of Political Science Emeritus and Academy Professor (Chair)
Hilary Bok, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Joseph Carrese, School of Medicine
Robert Dalrymple, Whiting School of Engineering
Chuck Doran, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, School of Education
Richard Giarusso, Peabody Institute
Len Rubenstein, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Cynda Rushton, School of Nursing
Lindsay J. Thompson, Carey Business School
Emily Zackin, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Kevin Fain, Bloomberg School of Public Health (student)
Kaushik Rao, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (student)
Jennifer Ronald, School of Nursing (student)
Lauren Judy, Krieger School of Arts and Science (student)


Download the Recommendation of the Task Force http://web.jhu.edu/administration/provost/docs/Task-Force-Recommended-Statement.pdf
Download the Mandate of the Task Force http://web.jhu.edu/administration/provost/docs/MandateforTaskForceonAcademicFreedom.pdf