The U7 + Alliance of World Universities, 45 research universities around the world, has issued a new statement on academic independence.
“Academic freedom is an essential contributor to the advancement of knowledge and prosperity, yet it faces limitations worldwide,” the statement said. “There are two interrelated elements of academic freedom, institutional and individual. The resurgence of dictatorships has robbed many universities of the institutional autonomy they need to achieve their core goal – the creation and dissemination of knowledge and education for future generations. The crisis of democracy, growing political extremism and polarization have threatened the independence of some university faculties as independent scholars to address controversial issues in research and teaching. The U7 + is committed to working with the G7 to ensure that educational freedom, open and respectful dialogue and debate are essential to a well-functioning democracy. In particular, we call on G7 member states to work to ensure that university faculties are able to conduct their work free from domestic and international political interference and that they receive adequate protection in their roles.