Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version

November 2002


Published in E. P. Cramer (Ed.), Addressing homophobia and heterosexism on college campuses (pp. 147-161). Binghamton, NY: Haworth. [Contents of book also published simultaneously as Vol. 6, No. 3/4 of the Journal of Lesbian Studies.] Used by permission.


Addressing homophobia and heterosexism as a teacher raises issues of respect for the intellectual freedom of your students. The central thesis of this article is that these issues are best addressed on the basis of general principles of academic freedom-that is, intellectual freedom in educational and research contexts. Three cases are analyzed on the basis of principles developed by the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON). These principles permit advocacy, rather than requiring neutrality, but do not permit indoctrination. That is, instructors may express and justify their own ideas relevant to the curriculum and try to convince students to adopt those ideas and/or abandon alternatives, but must not coerce or require belief, censor or punish students who remain unconvinced, or restrict access to alternative views.