On Academic Freedom for our Higher Education Users

Dated: April 13, 2021

Zoom recognizes that we have a unique relationship with our higher education users. The worlds of academia and virtual communications are rapidly changing, and we are honored that so many educational institutions have chosen to brave these transformations with us.

Our higher education academic freedom comment is born out of this evolution. We created this statement because our higher education users wanted to know where we stood. We want to stay true to our values to be transparent and incorporate the feedback of our customers in everything we do. While we understand that the physical campuses we know and love do not neatly translate to the virtual spaces of today, we owe it to our higher education users to align our approach to speech and conduct as best we can with those of the academic institutions we serve.

Academic freedom and freedom of speech are defining commitments for many of our higher education users, both inside the classroom and on the broader campus. In drafting this comment, we take special guidance from the American Association of University Professors’ 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

This comment is for any higher education institution that has academic freedom policies substantially similar to the AAUP’s inside the classroom, or policies protecting speech on campus that are similar to the rules governing U.S. public universities.

For Zoom meetings and webinars hosted by a higher education institution, the Trust and Safety team will only act on reports alleging content-related violations of our Acceptable Use Guidelines or Terms of Service that come from the meeting’s host or the account’s owners or administrators, unless:

  • Zoom determines that there is legal or regulatory risk to Zoom if it does not act;
  • the report alleges an immediate threat to the physical safety of any person; or
  • the meeting or webinar is unrelated to the institution’s academics or operations.

Zoom will make best efforts to consult with the higher education institution as soon as is reasonably possible before acting on any complaints about violations of Zoom’s Acceptable Use Guidelines or Terms of Service. On occasion, Zoom may require the higher education institution to put in writing that a particular meeting is related to the institution’s academics or operations, that the institution agrees to the meeting being hosted in its account, and that the meeting meets the institution’s standards for events on campus and online.

Zoom may update this comment from time to time, and we encourage you to check here for updates.

We look forward to growing in tandem with our higher education users as we tackle novel issues in the ever-evolving world of virtual learning.