No. The Supreme Court recognized in its 1957 decision Sweezy v. New Hampshire that a university, as an institution of higher learning, has the freedom “to determine for itself on academic grounds” four basic questions: “who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.”
None of these institutional freedoms, however, should be interpreted as limiting the individual freedoms of students or faculty. Public colleges and universities are still prohibited from taking action against professors and students based on their thoughts, opinions or pursuits, which may be unorthodox, so long as their work and expression doesn’t directly damage the university’s academic purpose. Courts have consistently overruled the efforts of public colleges to establish speech codes or otherwise burden free speech and expression on their campuses.
Some educational administrators have sought to protect students from various forms of sexual and racial harassment by invoking “academic freedom.” Their argument is that no student can be truly free in his or her scholarly efforts where there is the shadow of racism, sexism or heterosexism.
A number of schools have implemented plans to prevent such attitudes from affecting students, but the result has been an uneasy tension between the rights of students to have a learning environment free of hostility and the ability of professors to engage their classes freely without having their own expression chilled by fears of mistaken intentions. This is a contentious issue and one that seems unlikely to find a simple or quick solution.