Statement on Academic Freedom for Instructional Staff

Definition

  • Academic freedom is the right of all members of the academic community to study, discuss, investigate, teach, conduct research, publish or administer freely as appropriate to their respective roles and responsibilities. It is the obligation of all members of the university academic community to protect and assure these rights within the governing framework of the institution.
  • Academic freedom should be distinguished clearly from constitutional freedom, which all citizens enjoy equally under the law. Academic freedom is an additional assurance to those who teach and pursue knowledge, and, thus, properly should be restricted to rights of expression pertaining to teaching and research within their areas of recognized professional competencies. Beyond this, expressions by members of the academic community should carry no more weight or protection than that accorded any other citizen under the guarantee of constitutional rights. That is, outside of one's professional field, one must accept the same responsibility which all other individuals bear for their acts and utterances.

Specific Applications

  • Instructional staff members are individuals who teach but whose positions are not defined as “faculty.” Teaching includes direct instruction or supervision of students in classrooms, studios, libraries, laboratories, clinical settings, field placements, or on the internet, among other locations.
  • An instructional staff member is entitled, when engaged in teaching responsibilities, and in research and publication of results, to freedom in discussing the relevant subject matter. It is the instructional staff member’s expertise in the subject which entitles that individual to the classroom and other teaching venues named above, and to freedom in the presentation of the subject. Thus, it is improper for an instructional staff member persistently to intrude material which has no relationship to the subject, or to fail to present the subject matter of the course or program.

Enforcement

  • If an instructional staff member believes that rights regarding academic freedom, as provided in this policy statement, have been denied, that individual may initiate a complaint under the Staff Complaint Resolution Policy and Procedure.  

Approved: 11/18