Academic freedom on campus: resources and information

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As faculty and staff on college campuses across the country grapple with issues of academic freedom and free speech, it can be hard to know how to handle discussions with students and colleagues, and when it’s appropriate to speak out on current issues. What do these concepts mean on a practical level?  How can UNM faculty contribute to constructive discussions of difficult or controversial topics?  What are UNM’s academic freedom and free speech policies?


Advance at UNM, along with Academic Affairs, the Center for Teaching & Learning and the UNM School of Law, hosted two events in Spring 2024 for UNM faculty and staff to help understand the current free speech climate and consider best practices for making sure campus conversations stay civil. 


A March 19 webinar, Academic Freedom on Campus: Professional and Personal Reflections, featured UNM Constitutional law scholars and the chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, who offered guidance for faculty and staff. A March 29 workshop, Talking Across Differences: Creating Conditions for Productive Dialogue, provided ways for faculty and staff to have conversations on campus and beyond, including through a restorative justice lens.


Learn more about the past events below and scroll down for a video about the work of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee at UNM. 

March 19 webinar

Academic Freedom on Campus: Professional and Personal Reflections


This event took place on March 19, 2024. See the replay below.



Join distinguished UNM Constitutional law scholars and the chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure as they explore the multifaceted concept of academic freedom through historical, legal, and practical lenses. Panelists will share diverse strategies for navigating challenges in academia. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain unique insights into this current topic!



Maryam Ahranjani, professor, UNM School of Law

Sever Bordeianu, professor, Libraries and Learning Sciences 

John Kang, professor, UNM School of Law 

Josh Kastenberg, professor, UNM School of Law


Moderated by Julia Fulghum, director, Advance at UNM and Sonia Gipson Rankin, professor, UNM School of Law.


Access a handout  of information related to academic freedom from the webinar. 

March 29 workshop

Talking Across Differences: Creating Conditions for Productive Dialogue


This event took place March 29, 2024. See the handouts below the description.


During these politically polarized times, talking across differences is becoming increasingly fraught, both in our private lives and on campus. At the same time, this kind of dialogue is an important part of both democracy and pedagogy. It presents an opportunity to understand what may not be working and collaboratively figure out what might be done instead. In this way, talking across differences does not get in the way of safety; it increases it. When social and political influences make such dialogue more difficult, it becomes more necessary than ever. 


In this experiential workshop, we will:

  • Discuss situations where it may be better to avoid, redirect, and even actively discourage such dialogue (and strategies for doing so)

  • Discuss situations in which dialogue may be beneficial, and use the philosophy and methods of restorative justice to create conditions for dialogue to be productive and meaningful

  • Explore how we might respond when dialogue seems to get stuck or go awry


Mikhail Lyubansky, teaching associate professor, 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Department of Psychology

Staff from the UNM Center for Teaching & Learning will facilitate discussions and answer questions about CTL support for the development of community agreements.


Handouts from this event include:

Event agenda

Purposes of a facilitator

180 Questions for Connecting Circles and Delightful Discussions

Research on the fear of talking about controversial topics

Sample class guidelines that use a restorative justice approach

Incomplete list of restorative justice principles

Restorative justice questions after an event

Values and needs list

Learn about the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee at UNM

Do you know how the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee at UNM works? In this video, you’ll hear from Sever Bordeianu, chairman of the committee, as he explains the committee’s role, procedures and more.

Bordeianu mentions several policies at UNM related to free speech.

They are:

UNM C150 Political activities

UAP 2220 Freedom of Expression and Dissent

UAP 2240: Respectful Campus

UNM academic freedom and free speech resources

We’ve compiled some resources you need to know about academic freedom, free speech and creating civil and constructive dialogues in your classroom. Know of a resource we should add? Email advance at unm dot edu.