United Academics Condemns Threats to Free Speech

Dear UA faculty members,

United Academics is issuing a statement in response to recent warnings made to faculty members and students by administrators. See below. Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.


Katlyn Morris

UA Executive Director

This week, individual students and faculty have been subject to warnings or reprimands from UVM administrators about possible sanctions for speech and assembly. As the faculty union at UVM, United Academics stands for the rights of faculty and the students we serve, and condemns the University administration’s attempts to silence members of the community who wish to advocate for ourselves and our programs.

Many of these threats of discipline made by the administration were not in response to anything that had occurred. They were not based on evidence of any actual violations of code. Rather they were in anticipation of something that could potentially result in what the administration would classify as disruption. This sends a loud, clear message, which ripples through our community: You will be punished for speaking out against the administration.

The AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom, incorporated in our faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement provides: “Faculty are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of the University. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline.” 

The administration’s threats to discipline faculty and students have a chilling effect on our community’s ability to question, express disagreement, and speak freely. In some cases these tactics have been effective in silencing community members. Many faculty at UVM are feeling particularly insecure about their jobs, in light of recent layoffs and expected further layoffs. We urge the administration to cultivate an atmosphere that promotes free speech, academic freedom, and shared governance. 

UA Condemns Threat to Free Speech