The Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities was founded to advocate for the general conditions of MLA members’ professional lives as well as for the mutual recognition of professional rights and responsibilities between members and their institutions. The committee aims to promote MLA members’ right to academic freedom and their rights and responsibilities to participate in institutional governance, planning, budgeting, and resource oversight. In particular, the committee upholds the faculty’s primary responsibilities for personnel decisions and for curriculum and pedagogy. The committee is also concerned with the responsibilities of educational institutions for equity, communication, and transparency. The committee takes a special interest in all aspects of academic and humanities careers, including letters of recommendation, interview and hiring protocols, and equitable recruitment and promotion procedures. Specific professional concerns include transparency in the funding of research and teaching, appropriate protocols for professional advancement, working conditions for per-course faculty members, and the recruitment, retention, and support of underrepresented groups in the profession. The committee attends to issues of discrimination, equity, and inclusion, as well as to inappropriate invocations of academic freedom whose effects are restrictive or retaliatory. The committee organizes two MLA sessions for the annual convention and, when warranted, drafts statements for Executive Council approval. In initiating relevant projects, policies, and publications, the committee distills the experience of its members to engage questions of ethics, but it is not empowered to investigate individual grievances.

To view a list of the committee’s members, please visit the MLA website.

Staff liaisons: Anna Chang and Dennis Looney (cafprr@mla.org).

Click here to view the committee notebook.

This is a private group. To join you must be a registered site member and request group membership.