4.2.1 Academic Freedom Statement

 Academic freedom is indispensable to effective teaching, excellent research/creative activities, exemplary service, and shared governance.  Academic freedom is the right of faculty to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and to teach, publish, present, and speak, without censorship or external interference, even though their conclusions may be unpopular or contrary to public opinion (see 3.1.1).  The methods, curricular choices, and grading procedures should be the prerogative of the faculty teaching a particular course, limited only by appropriate professional norms, the Faculty Handbook (see 3.1.8, 3.1.9, 3.1.10, 3.1.11, 4.2.14), and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article II).  Academic freedom also encompasses the freedom to discuss any matter of institutional policy or practice, without institutional sanction.  Respecting academic freedom means that faculty input should be sought on all academic matters germane to university life (see 4.5).   Both within and outside the classroom,  members of the faculty should exhibit the accuracy, restraint, and tolerance for the opinions and ideas of others appropriate to educators and persons of learning.   

 Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of results, but research for pecuniary return should comply with relevant university policies (see 3.2.4, 4.1.13, 4.2.6, 4.2.7) ) . 

 Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject but should be careful not to introduce content  that has  no  relevance to the subject.

Classroom visitations for the purpose of teaching evaluations are compatible with academic freedom, but such visitation shall adhere to reasonable procedures contained in a written statement approved by a majority of department faculty.

The faculty is an individual, a member of a learned profession, as well as a member of an educational institution. When speaking as an individual, he or she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his or her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and as an educator, a member of the faculty should remember that the public may judge his or her profession and institution by his or her utterances. Hence faculty should at all times be accurate,  show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that he or she is not an institutional spokesperson. In relations with the public, they should make it clear at all times whether they speak as private citizens, as experts on the subject in question, or as institutional spokesperson. In speaking as private citizens, faculty should make clear that they are doing so. In this connection, use of University titles should be permitted for identification purposes only, and it should be made clear that institutional endorsement is not implied.

Members of the University community are free to examine and to discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They are free to support causes by orderly means including any means of peaceful assembly or advocacy that do not infringe upon the rights or freedoms of others. Members of the University community are allowed to invite, to hear, and to see speakers, creative performers and artistic presentations of their own choosing. Guest appearances must not interfere with the University's regular instructional, research, and service programs. Except for ceremonial occasions, invited speakers and presenters should be prepared for a public discussion of their expressed views.

Invited speakers and presenters are accorded the full  protection appropriate to a university community. Individuals or groups who engage in actions designed to obstruct or to prevent the speaker from speaking and the presenter from presenting or displaying any form of artistic expression are subject to discipline and to financial responsibility in the event of damage to property or person.

The institutional control of campus facilities is not to be used as a device of censorship. Sponsorship of guest speakers and presenters does not imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed, either by the sponsoring unit or the University. (Rev May 2019)