Academic freedom requires a special niche within the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, one that preserves “expert knowledge,” Robert C. Post, dean of the Yale Law School, told an audience at the Yale School of Management on September 17.
Post, who is also the Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, spoke as part of Convening Yale, a monthly series of seminars that brings scholars from across the University to share their research with the SOM community. His most recent book is Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State.
In a democracy, Post said, academic research plays the critical role of creating the unbiased information that informs expert knowledge, which in turn influences public opinion and ultimately political leaders. To play this role, academic research must be subject to the rigors of academic disciplines. “Disciplinary autonomy establishes academic freedom,” Post said. “The university is the guardian of the tools by which information is created.”