Academic freedom

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Academic Freedom Policies

UJ Senate Academic Freedom Committee

Refer to page 1 (point 3) of the UJ Charter for the Senate Academic Freedom Committee on academic freedom:

3.   Principles:


Section 16(1) of the South African Constitution guarantees to everyone academic freedom and freedom of scientific research as a form of freedom of expression.


As is the case with all other rights in the South African Constitution, the right to academic freedom is not absolute, and may be limited in terms of Section 36 of the Constitution.


Except for scenarios outlined in Section 36 of the Constitution, the University will vigorously uphold and defend as academic freedom the freedom to engage in genuine and legitimate academic activities without interference. Genuine and legitimate academic activities are those which are conducted for an academic purpose, such as teaching, learning, research, discovering, inventing, increasing and applying knowledge, and the publication and dissemination of the results of academic activities.


Except for scenarios outlined in Section 36 of the Constitution, the University will vigorously uphold and defend the right of employees and students who engage in a genuine and legitimate exercise of academic freedom.”


Thus, this includes freedom in all academic activities, both research freedom and teaching freedom.

Thus, this applies to all UJ students and employees, both academic staff and support staff and thus includes:

> research freedom for senior academics

> research freedom for junior academics

> teaching freedom for senior academics

> teaching freedom for junior academics

UJ Social Media

Refer to pages 6 and 7 of the UJ Social Media Policy on academic freedom:

Page 6 (point 2.1):

“The right to freedom of expression coupled with the corollary right to receive and impart information is constitutionally-entrenched, and has been recognised as a cornerstone of democracy and deserving of the utmost protection. The right includes the protection of robust or critical speech, within the Law. This is particularly important in the context of academic freedom, which the University desires in all instances both to respect and encourage.”

Page 7 (point 3.1.2):

“The objectives of the Policy are:

to seek to uphold the right to freedom of expression to the greatest extent possible, and to strike the appropriate balance, where necessary, between the enjoyment of the freedom with, amongst others, the rights and freedoms of others, bearing in mind that academic freedom receives special mention in the Constitution, which means that it lies at the core of the right to freedom of expression, and should be limited only when reasonable and justifiable in terms of the Constitution;”

UJ Academic and Research Ethics

Other Relevant and Related UJ Policies and Documents

Refer to the UJ Media Communication Opinion Articles and Op-Eds Circular Jan 2022 on academic freedom:

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) respects, values, and supports everyone’s rights, including academic freedom and freedom of speech, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

The University appreciates that opinion pieces in the media or other forms are composed and published according to the UJ values. To enable a culture for academic debate, amongst other factors, the university’s strategic plan actively promotes the authorship of opinion pieces and also provides the opportunity for thought leadership in this way.”