ERIC Number: ED330280
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr-6
Reference Count: 0
Evolution of the Doctrine of Academic Abstention in American Jurisprudence.
The purpose of this study was to determine the current legal status of U.S. postsecondary education by examining the legal doctrine of academic abstention, a theory by which U.S. jurists have hitherto avoided excessive legal interference with the academic affairs of colleges and universities. Since World War II, however, changes in the student and employee demographics of colleges and universities, changes in the size and governance of higher education institutions, and an increase in judicial activism have brought judicial scrutiny and participation to areas which had long been the exclusive responsibility of academic officials. The theoretical basis and evolution of the doctrine of academic abstention are examined with emphasis on the theory of special expertise, the school's role of "in loco parentis," the discretionary authority of public officials, state-federal comity, the law of private associations, and contract law. An analysis of recent court decisions finds that the judiciary is deferring less to the discretionary authority of the school in such areas as discrimination though it continues to defer to the special expertise of academicians in purely academic areas of decision making. It is noted that the primary responsibility for maintaining academic freedom and autonomy rests with legislators and institutional officials. Fifty-two footnotes provide the study's documentation. (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Academic Abstention; Jurisprudence
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 6, 1991).