Faculty Handbook-3.2 Academic Freedom

Faculty Handbook-3.2 Academic Freedom

This section of the Faculty Handbook defines academic freedom.
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3.2 Academic Freedom

(This statement was adapted from the American Association of University Professors 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and 1970 Interpretive Comments.)



The purpose of this statement is to promote public understanding and support of academic freedom and tenure and agreement upon procedures to assure them in colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education exist for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. Achievement of the common good depends, in part, upon the free search for truth and its free expression.

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and other scholarly activities. Freedom in research and scholarship is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it responsibilities correlative with rights.

Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties, but publication or research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.

Tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically (1) freedom of teaching and scholarly activities and of extramural activities and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to individuals of ability. Freedom and economic security, hence tenure, are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.

College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as a citizen, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.