Detail of the Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy logo

Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy


Background to the Collection

CAFD was established by a small group of radically-minded academics in 1970. It is essentially a civil liberties organisation in the field of British higher education. It was initially led by Professor John Griffiths, of the London School of Economics, and his colleague, Ralph Miliband. Professor John Saville, of the University of Hull, became its Chairman on Griffith's retirement in 1982.

CAFD has fought hundreds of cases on behalf of university and college staff in defence of their academic freedom and democratic rights. The Council is still active and is now known as the Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards (CAFAS). As well as undertaking casework, it campaigns more widely against declining academic standards and abuses of power within higher and further education. Its patrons include Noam Chomsky.

What is in the collection?

Material in this collection covers the period 1967-1982. Records mainly consist of individual and institutional case files containing correspondence, statements and press cuttings. There are also subject files containing correspondence and press cuttings, and administration files containing minutes, reports, newsletters, articles and speeches.

Records relate to issues including university rules and regulations, working conditions, breaches of academic freedom, university and departmental organisation, university closures, discrimination in the work place, suspensions and dismissals, disagreements over contracts of employment, student expulsions, defamation, breaches of contract or university regulations, and disciplinary proceedings against students and/or staff.

What areas of research would the collection support?

This collection could be used to support research into late 20th century higher education, left-wing politics in the higher education system, workplace discrimination, and 20th century campaigning. It could also be used to produce a written history of CAFD, and to contribute to biographical research into John Griffiths and John Saville.

Are there any access issues?

Please note that some files may be closed under data protection legislation. Where this is the case, indication is given in individual descriptions on the online catalogue.

Is there any related material?

Related material can be found in the following collections:

  • Papers of John Saville [U DJS

  • Liberty [U DCL 354/5, 429-440, 472/4, 488/10, 492/3, 606/1, 655/1, 674/3].

Please also see our Politics and Campaigning page for further guidance on our political collections.

See the online catalogue description