National leaders to join UO for academic freedom conference

Illustration suggesting academic freedom

The University of Oregon will host experts from around the country for a conversation on academic freedom Oct. 14. 

All are welcome to attend the Academic Freedom and the Public University Conference, and registration for the virtual event is still open. A watch party and reception will be held at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. 

The Office of the Provost decided to hold the conference amid recent attacks on faculty members, their research and the classes they teach at universities across the country. Organizers hope attendees come away with information on the topic and action steps to apply in their daily work, whether they’re a student, faculty member or officer of administration. 

Gabe Paquette, vice provost for academic affairs, said the university is in a strong position to shape the national discourse on the topic. 

“UO has long been a leader in the areas of academic freedom and campus free speech,” he said. “Hosting the conference affirms the UO's enduring commitment to these values and should ensure that the UO remains in the vanguard among national universities.” 

Paquette collaborated with provost fellows Joe Lowndes, a professor of political science, and Pedro García-Caro, a professor of Spanish, and project manager Katy Krieger to organize the event. 

The conference’s panels will focus on political interference; the role of civil society organizations, donors and the media; and new directions on the study of academic freedom, which will touch on how certain areas of study have been targeted in the past few years. 

Among those giving keynote speeches are Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities; Eric Ward, a senior adviser at the Western States Center; Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors; James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association; and Sumi Cho, director of strategic initiatives at the African American Policy Forum. 

—By Chelsea Hunt, Office of the Provost