E.1. 2 Academic Freedom
Responsible Department: Instruction
Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011
Each faculty member will have freedom in the classroom to discuss the subject he or she teaches. Additionally, each faculty member is expected not to introduce into his or her teachings controversial matters that have no relation to the classroom subject. Faculty members shall, when speaking, make clear that their opinions are not necessarily those of the System. At the same time, faculty members shall strive to be accurate in their statements and to be willing to listen to and show respect for others who express different opinions.
Institutions of higher learning exist for the common good. The common good depends upon a free search for truth and its free expression. Therefore, it is essential that College System faculty be free to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction and to voice and publish their conclusions concerning the significance of evidence they consider relevant. The faculty member must be free from the corrosive fear that others, inside or outside the college community, may threaten his or her professional career because their vision differs from that of others. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject being taught to the full extent permitted by law. Furthermore, faculty members are free from institutional censorship or discipline when they speak, write, or act as citizens of their nation, state, and community.
The concept of academic freedom must be accompanied by an equally demanding concept of responsibility, shared by the Board, administrators, and faculty members. Exercise of professional integrity by a faculty member includes recognition that the public will judge the member's profession and the College System by the faculty member's statements. Therefore, faculty members should strive to avoid creating the impression that they are speaking or acting for the College System when speaking or acting as private citizens. Faculty members should be judicious in the use of controversial material in the classroom and should only introduce such material when it has a clear relationship to the subject matter of the course being taught.