Basic concepts of academic freedom

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Although higher education institutions provide fresh ground for nurturing students’ academic freedom, autonomy, and sovereignty, there are specific laws that govern students’ while acquiring higher education. The book Law of Higher Education constitutes a requisite module to the laws that guide on the comportment of higher education (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). Students preparing for leadership roles need a guide to mentor and nurture leadership skills. The evolution of higher education, legal planning, dispute resolution, and governance are essential in making fundamental policies in education. The resource is interesting and remarkable in that it reviews fundamental legal issues in education especially those regarding the rights of students who are in the institutions of higher learning (Palmadessa, 2017). While freedom of expression is essential in the institutions of higher learning, out of being in line with the first amendment regarding freedom of expression, freedom of claims and the need for responsibility applies equally.

Academic freedom has always been an essential part of students in higher education institutions. Academic freedom entails intellectual engagement and dialogue between students and faculty members without fear of retaliation or censorship. It is only through such engagement that students fulfill their pedagogical and intellectual commitments (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). According to Kuger, (2016), academic freedom conserves intellectual integrity in the educational system thereby enhancing the welfare of students and the good of the nation. Students are guaranteed that they can communicate with their peers, institution administrators as well as other faculty members (Kuger, 2016). Fundamentally, every student in the institution of higher learning, irrespective of their background, ethnicity race or other segregation aspects has the equal rights. The laws of higher education guarantee such rights in various aspects and levels to guarantee all the students’ academic freedom and empower them to undertake in their learning activities. Further, the resource is stimulating in that the author reviews essential issues.

According to Kaplin & Lee (2014), students may not be sufficiently prepared for leadership roles without comprehensive understanding and experiencing the benefits of the Law of higher education. Some of the fundamental issues addressed in these laws include the evolution of higher education governance and law, dispute resolution, and legal planning as well as the underlying relationship between policy and laws (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). Moreover, students have civil, contractual, and constitutional as well as consumer rights that offer them freedom, allowing them to utilize their educational investment.

Students reserve the rights to petition for academic freedom, which will enable them to acquire fundamental rights in education such as students’ copyrights issues as well as the right to access online education (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). For instance, while online education is significant for students’ empowerment especially in the rapidly changing world, there are specific ethical requirements such as laws governing plagiarism and other copyright issues that ought to adhere. Students have the rights to refer information but must conform to the institutional laws regarding such regulation. The contemporary need for academic freedom indicates cumulative legalism in higher education. Although the availability of comprehensive laws may not necessarily correspond with improved rights for students in higher learning, it offers a platform where they can solicit for a more balanced approach in addressing their needs (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). Correspondingly, availability of comprehensive laws in higher education provides the significance ground where institutions can offer and enhance the availability of requisite information to students as well as improving their rights.

More importantly, institutions need to form a firm basis, work for a deeper understanding of the policies, laws, and programs as established by the governments (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). Some of how the resource Law of Higher Education has evaluated include, rights of the students with the disability, various forms of discrimination in institutions, the law regarding safety, freedom of speech, student activism and religion among others. Fundamentally, students with disability cannot be excluded from participating in any activities, denied all accrued benefits or be imperiled to any form of discrimination. Correspondingly, students cannot be discriminated by their race, sexual orientation or any other kind of discrimination. According to Kaplin & Lee (2014), any form of harassment, including sexual and lack of safety within institutions of higher learning contribute to the interference with the learning process and thus are to be avoided at all cost. Students are also protected from searches and seizure while within the institution of higher learning.

While freedom of speech is guaranteed to all the students within the institution of higher learning, all the students within this institution are protected from hate speech and other forms of abuse. While in the institution of higher learning, students have the rights to support or engage in religious institutions of their choice. Simultaneously, religious institutions are autonomous and free to operate in the institution of higher learning without any form of discrimination. According to Kaplin & Lee, 2014), students ought to not only engage but agitate for environmental, political economic and social change. Consequently, the curriculum of higher education and should include strategies and enhanced awareness to enable students to acquire relevant skills to modestly participate in driving social, political and economic changes in learning. While modern student activism varies widely in size, subject as well as the level of success, participation and rights for protection as enshrined in the higher education law should be emphasized and adhered (Kuger, 2016). Such initiatives enhance the social, economic welfare of the students; promote integration and moderate speech issues, discourage discrimination, racism and other divisions in higher institution.

According to Palmadessa (2017), racism has been the huge challenge in institutions of higher learning. Comprehensive laws that regulate growth and proliferation of the vice in higher education would prepare and instigate institutional changes to reduce the problem. Higher education laws ought to embrace the utilization of affirmative action to deal with the upcoming issues regarding racism, and relevant strategies not only to combat the vice but curtail its recurrence. Speech issues in institutions of higher learning have been subject to scrutiny because of the rise in controversial events and speakers targeting minority students. Such students become victims of threatening messages leading to discomfort and impaired learning (Kaplin & Lee, 2014). While higher education law contains enacted measures to protect the disadvantaged group, the additional measure that entails openness and embracing intellectual discussion, especially in contemporary events continually challenge and serve to eradicate the vice.

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  1. Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A. (2014). The law of higher education: Student version. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Brand.
  2. Kuger, S. (2016). Assessing contexts of learning. Place of publication not identified: Springer International Pu.
  3. Palmadessa, A. L. (2017). American national identity, policy paradigms, and higher education: A history of the relationship between higher education and the United States, 1862-2015. New York, NY, U.S.A. : Palgrave Macmillan.
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