CUCFA letter in Support of Academic Freedom for University Librarians

Dear colleagues,

On July 26, 2018 UC negotiators rejected a proposal by the UC-AFT Unit 17 that academic freedom be recognized as a right of all librarians as academic employees. UC negotiators reportedly argued that academic freedom is granted only to faculty and students “to enable free expression in the classroom,” that it is “a professional standard established by faculty, for faculty,” and that their position was consistent with “AAUP’s stance on Academic Freedom.”

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has rejected UC negotiators’ claims and clarified that since 1972 it has recognized librarians as faculty (Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians). Specifically, the joint statement affirms that:

College and university librarians share the professional concerns of faculty members.  Academic freedom is indispensable to librarians in their roles as teachers and researchers. Critically, they are trustees of knowledge with the responsibility of ensuring the intellectual freedom of the academic community through the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn. Moreover, as members of the academic community, librarians should have latitude in the exercise of their professional judgment within the library, a share in shaping policy within the institution, and adequate opportunities for professional development and appropriate reward.

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) has already issued a joint statement with the California Conference of AAUP chapters (CA-AAUP) upholding AAUP’s 1972 recognition of librarians as faculty, and supporting UC-AFT Unit 17’s request that all librarians be “entitled to academic freedom, as their primary responsibility to their institution and profession is to seek, state, and act according to the truth as they see it.”


The UCSB Faculty Association now urges all UC faculty to support the right of librarians to have their academic freedom recognized by the University of California by signing and spreading this petition.


UCSB Faculty Association

Executive Board