Academic Abstention

The term academic abstention appears to be the creation of Harry T. Edwards and Virginia D. Nordin, because it first appeared in the literature in their 1979 book, Higher Education and the Law. As it applies to higher education, academic abstention reflects the ideological basis of academic autonomy and freedom that was established at the formation of universities in medieval times. The courts have traditionally exercised caution when asked to intervene in the internal affairs of institutions of higher education. This practice of academic deference evolved from a circumspection by a judiciary that hesitated to substitute its judgment for that of academicians. In light of the history and significance of this practice, this entry examines the growth and development of the important concept of academic ...

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