Universities Canada’s 2011 “Statement on Academic Freedom” offers a very good discussion of the source of and reason for academic freedom, and of the responsibilities that accompany academic freedom. The statement occurs in the Canadian context. Indeed, in many ways, this statement sets the context: post-secondary institutions must adopt the principles enshrined in this statement as a criterion for membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada (AUCC, aka Universities Canada).
Here’s a taste:
Academic freedom does not exist for its own sake, but rather for important social purposes. Academic freedom is essential to the role of universities in a democratic society. Universities are committed to the pursuit of truth and its communication to others, including students and the broader community. To do this, faculty must be free to take intellectual risks and tackle controversial subjects in their teaching, research and scholarship.
Read the whole statement here.