Records of the Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy

Scope and Content

This collection contains various files relating to different aspects of the work of the Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy (CAFD), including administration files, subject files, institution files and individual case files. The CAFD administration files include general correspondence files, minutes of CAFD executive meetings and AGMs, CAFD annual reports, CAFD newsletters, copies of articles and speeches relating to CAFD and academic freedom, and other CAFD executive committee papers.

The subject files contain mainly correspondence and press cuttings as well as other related papers such as minutes. These files cover various topics, predominantly specific reports on academic freedom and associations linked to CAFD, such as the Association of University Teachers and the National Union of Students.

The files relating to specific institutions also predominantly contain correspondence as well as press statements and press cuttings. The files cover issues such as university rules and regulations, working conditions, breaches of academic freedom, university and departmental organisation, disciplinary proceedings against students and/or staff and university closures.

The case files relating to individual personal cases predominantly contain correspondence about cases brought by academic individuals against their employers. The correspondence is generally between the individual and CAFD. The cases cover a wide range of issues including discrimination in the workplace, suspensions and dismissals, disagreements over contracts of employment, student expulsions, defamation, breaches of contract or university rules and regulations and disciplinary proceedings against students and/or staff.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy (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 and was associated with the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), later known as Liberty. 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.


U DAF/1 CAFD Administration files

U DAF/2 Subject files

U DAF/3 Institution files

U DAF/4 Case files

U DAF/5 Publications

Access Information

Some of the records in this collection contain sensitive personal information. In accordance with data protection legislation, records containing sensitive personal information are not available for public inspection for 75 years if the information relates to adults, or 100 years if the information relates to children. In some circumstances access may be granted for research purposes. To request access or for further information please contact

Access to all other material will be granted to any accredited reader.

Custodial History

Deposited by Professor J.A.G. Griffiths, May 1984; Malcolm Hurwitt, 2003 and Jim Cowley, 2011

Related Material

Professor John Saville [U DJS]

Liberty (formerly National Council for Civil Liberties) [U DCL]

Dictionary of Labour Biography [U DLB]