Freedom of Enquiry & Expression

As Canada’s Open Online University, Athabasca University (AU) is dedicated to the removal of barriers that restrict access to and success in university-level study and to increasing equality and equity of educational opportunities for adult learners worldwide. As an autonomous and self-governed University, AU is steadfastly committed to embracing and protecting freedom of enquiry and freedom of expression for all team members in the AU community, our learners, alumni, and visitors to our University within the limits of Canadian and Alberta law, even when the views expressed may not be shared with nor represent those of Athabasca University. The right to academic freedom is addressed separately in the context of the collective agreement with the Athabasca University Faculty Association. In all things, AU’s actions are guided by our I-CARE values of Integrity, Community, Adaptability, Respect, and Excellence.


Athabasca University upholds the following principles and guidelines.

  • Free and open enquiry in all matters.
  • Individuals to have the broadest latitude to speak, write, listen, and challenge ideas and points of view in the pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and creation.
  • Individuals to have the right to challenge, debate, and criticize the views of others provided they do not obstruct the right of others to freely express their views.
  • The offensiveness of ideas is not a barrier to individuals having the freedom to express their ideas or points of view.
  • It is up to individuals, not AU, to make judgements about expressed ideas or points of view.


  • All AU team members, learners, alumni, and visitors to our University are expected to act in accordance with our values and our policies.
  • AU will restrict activity that falsely defames any individual and/or group of individuals, constitutes a genuine threat, harassment, and/or unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests.
  • AU may regulate the time, place and manner of expression in events/communications that do not adhere to its principles and to ensure events do not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University.