Broadly construed, academic freedom is the freedom of the faculty members and students to research, teach, learn and express their opinions without being constrained or penalized by their peers or authorities. By protecting the autonomy of the faculty and students, academic freedom provides a space of free inquiry and speech that furthers individual and public knowledge, and empowers people beyond the reach of authorities.

Academic freedom is particularly important on topics of research and teaching that are politically contested, economically unprofitable and socially marginalized. Higher education is meant to expand and disseminate knowledge on all areas of academic inquiry; nevertheless, political and administrative pressures, economic concerns of profitability and social boundaries often restrain them.

University of the Commons aims at providing a free space of inquiry and teaching. It embraces marginalized or excluded areas in the institutes of higher education due to social, political and economic constraints. It aims at not only becoming a refuge for scholars-at-risk to teach and research untethered from the political oppressions, but also providing students and life-long learners open resources on topics that are often left out of traditional curriculums.