POLICY AND STATEMENTS ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM
University of Mary Washington Policy on Academic Freedom
[Adopted by the faculty, 1986 and the Board of Visitors, 1987. Wording changed to reflect the University name change in 2004.]
C.1 First Amendment Statement
C.1.1 University of Mary Washington vigorously supports freedom of inquiry and expression within the academic community. All members of that community have a fundamental right to follow their interests and to express their views privately and publicly without censorship, constrained only by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the laws of the United States, and respect for the property and person of others. While the University may institute regulations to ensure the orderly expression of ideas and to protect the resources needed for productive inquiry, these regulations shall not be interpreted in a way which restricts freedom of inquiry and expression by any member of the University community.
C.1.2 University of Mary Washington has adopted the Statement on Academic Freedom of the Association of American Colleges (1941), and the American Association of University Professors’ statement on Freedom and Responsibility (1970). These statements and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States define the parameters of academic freedom in the University of Mary Washington Community.
C.1.3 The University of Mary Washington Community includes:
.1 Faculty (defined herein as those University of Mary Washington personnel holding academic rank, including adjunct faculty and contract faculty). Faculty are afforded the full protection of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Moreover, by definition, teachers are entitled to the exercise of the freedom of inquiry, are obligated to follow scholarship wherever it leads and to promulgate the result of inquiry.
.2 Students (defined herein as those persons officially enrolled in one or more classes at University of Mary Washington). All students bring their First Amendment rights onto the campus. Therefore, all University of Mary Washington students shall be afforded the same rights of inquiry and promulgation as the faculty.
.3 Speakers, public performers, artists and other guests Speakers, public performers, artists and other guests invited by the institution and/or by recognized student, faculty, and institutional organizations shall be protected from any form of censorship or disruption, and shall be afforded the same freedom of expression in the chosen medium as is guaranteed members of the University of Mary Washington community. Freedom from censorship extends to individual as well as public behavior and carries with it accompanying responsibility for individual as well as public behavior, both on the part of members of the University community and their invited guests.
C.2 Academic Freedom Grievance Policy If any member of the University community or invited guest perceives that rights of expression or inquiry have been denied or abridged by another part of that same community, the aggrieved individual or group may request a hearing by the University Faculty Appeals and Grievance Committee (see §2.6.5).
C.3 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom (Jointly revised by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) in 1990.)
(a) Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary reward should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
(b) 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. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
(c) College or university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.
C.4 AAUP Statement on Freedom and Responsibility (adopted by the Council of the AAUP in 1970, revised 1990)
Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction and free expression on and off the campus. The expression of dissent and the attempt to produce change, therefore, may not be carried out in ways which injure individuals or damage institutional facilities or disrupt the classes of one’s teachers or colleagues. Speakers on campus must not only be protected from violence, but given an opportunity to be heard. Those who seek to call attention to grievances must not do so in ways that significantly impede the functions of the institution.
Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to even-handed treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship. Faculty members may not refuse to enroll or teach students on the grounds of their beliefs or the possible uses to which they may put the knowledge to be gained in a course. Students should not be forced by the authority inherent in the instructional role to make particular personal choices as to political action or to their own part in society. Evaluation of students and the award of credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree of political activism or personal beliefs.
It is a mastery teachers have of their subjects and their own scholarship that entitles them to their classrooms and to freedom in the presentation of their subjects. Thus, it is improper for an instructor persistently to intrude material which has no relation to the subject, or to fail to present the subject matter of his course as announced to the students and as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum.
Because academic freedom has traditionally included the instructor’s full freedom as a citizen, most faculty members face no insoluble conflicts between the claims of politics, social action and conscience, on the one hand, and the claims and expectations of their students, colleagues and institutions, on the other. If such conflicts become acute, and the instructor’s attention to obligations as a citizen and moral agent precludes an instructor from fulfilling substantial academic obligations, the instructor cannot escape the responsibility of that choice, but should either request a leave of absence or resign his or her academic position.
C.5 AAUP Statement on Professors and Political Activity (Adopted by the AAUP in 1969, revised 1990.)
- College and university faculty members are citizens, and, like other citizens, should be free to engage in political activities so far as they are able to do so consistently with their obligations as teachers and scholars.
- Many kinds of political activity, e.g., holding part-time office in a political party, seeking election to any office under circumstances that do not require extensive campaigning, or serving by appointment or election in a part-time political office, are consistent with effective service as a member of a faculty. Other kinds of political activity, e.g., intensive campaigning for elective office, serving in a state legislature, or serving a limited term in a full-time position, may require that professors seek a leave of absence from their college or university.
- In recognition of the legitimacy and social importance of political activity by professors, universities and colleges should provide institutional arrangements to permit it, similar to those applicable to other public or private extra-mural service. Such arrangements may include the reduction of the faculty member’s workload or a leave of absence for the duration of an election campaign or a term of office, accompanied by equitable adjustment of compensation when necessary.
- Faculty members seeking leaves should recognize that they have a primary obligation to their institution and to their growth as educators and scholars; they should be mindful of the problem which a leave of absence can create for their administration, their colleagues, and their students; and they should not abuse the privilege by too frequent or too late application or too extended a leave. If adjustments in their favor are made, such as reduction of workload, they should expect the adjustments to be limited to a reasonable period.
- A leave of absence incident to political activity should come under the institution’s normal rules and regulations for leaves of absence. Such leave should not affect unfavorably the tenure status of a faculty member, except that time spent on such leave from academic duties need not count as probationary service. The terms of a leave and its effect on the professor’s status should be set forth in writing.