DGC (Local) – Employee Rights and Privileges: Academic Freedom and Responsibility


1.01 Academic Freedom Commitment and Definition
Academic freedom is a scholar’s freedom to express ideas without unreasonable constraints or risk of professional disadvantage, to explore fully within the field of his or her assignment, and to give in the classroom and elsewhere such explanation or description of his or her subject as he or she believes to represent the truth. The College is committed to academic freedom, and the Board of Trustees and administration shall respect and defend the academic freedom of College faculty and students. Any faculty member who believes his/her academic freedom is being unreasonably or illegally restricted is encouraged submit a complaint in accordance with the Employee Complaints and Grievances policy (DGBA – Local). Any student who believes his/her academic freedom is being unreasonably or illegally restricted is encouraged to submit a complaint in accordance with the Student Complaints policy
(FLD – Local).

1.02 Academic Freedom – General Principles
Institutions of higher education exist for the common good. The common good depends upon an uninhibited search for truth and its open expression. Therefore, it is essential that faculty members be free to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction, and to voice and publish individual conclusions concerning the significance of evidence that they consider relevant.

Each faculty member must be free from the fear that others inside or outside the College community with differing opinions may threaten his or her professional career or the material benefits accruing from it. Each faculty member is entitled to full freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject being taught. Within the bounds of professional behavior, faculty members also have full freedom to express disagreement with other members of the College community. Although a faculty member observes the regulations of the institution, he or she maintains the right to criticize and seek revision of those regulations.

Faculty members also are citizens of the nation, state, and community; therefore, when speaking, writing, or acting outside the classroom, they must be free from institutional censorship or discipline. On such occasions faculty members should make it clear that they are not speaking for the institution.


2.01 General Principles
For faculty members, the notion of academic freedom is linked to the equally demanding concept of academic ethics and responsibility. As a faculty member, a person assumes certain ethical obligations and responsibilities to students, to other members of the campus community, to the institution, to the profession, and to society at large.

2.02 Ethical Obligations and Responsibilities to Students
Faculty members should foster scholarly values in students, including academic honesty, the free pursuit of learning, and the exercise of academic freedom.

Faculty members should act professionally in the classroom and in other academic relationships with students. Faculty members should exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching a controversial matter that has no relation to their subject.

Faculty members should maintain respect for the student and for the student’s role as a learner. Faculty members should evaluate students on the true merit of their academic performance. Faculty members should be available at reasonable intervals to students for consultation on course work.

Faculty members shall not engage in any exploitation, harassment, or illegal discriminatory treatment of students.

2.03 Ethical Obligations and Responsibilities to Members of the College Community
Faculty members shall neither harass nor exploit any member of the College community.

Faculty members shall respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, faculty members shall show due respect for the opinions of others.

Faculty members shall acknowledge the academic contributions of others, strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues, and accept their share of faculty responsibilities for contributing to the governance of the institution.

2.04 Ethical Obligations and Responsibilities to the College
A faculty member’s comments regarding matters of public concern are protected even though they may be highly critical in tone or content, or even erroneous. The constitutionally protected rights of faculty members, as citizens, to freedom of expression on matters of public concern cannot be abridged. However, when a public employee makes statements pursuant to his or her official duties, the employee is not speaking as a citizen for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate the communications from employer discipline. Faculty members, like all citizens, are responsible for all actions that are not constitutionally protected.

Neither an employee nor anyone else has an absolute constitutional right to use all parts of a College building or its immediate environs for unlimited expressive purposes.

Faculty members should recognize that their primary responsibilities are to the institution as they determine the amount (if any) and character of work done outside of the institution. Such outside work shall be consistent with College requirements (See: College Policy LOCAL DBF). Although faculty members may follow subsidiary interests, these must never compromise their freedom and willingness to draw intellectually honest conclusions.

When considering the interruption or termination of their service, faculty members should take into account the effect of their decision upon the institution and give due notice of their intentions.

2.05 Ethical Obligations and Responsibilities to the Profession
Faculty members have ethical obligations and responsibilities to their profession. The fundamental responsibilities of a faculty member as a teacher and scholar include maintenance of competence in his or her field of specialization and exhibition of such professional competence in the classroom, studio, library, or laboratory and in the public arena by such activities as discussions, lectures, consulting, publications, or participation in professional organizations and meetings.

2.06 Ethical Obligations and Responsibilities to the Public
Faculty members have ethical obligations and responsibilities to the public. The demonstration of professional integrity by a faculty member includes recognition that the society at large will judge the profession as well as the institution by his or her statements and behavior. Therefore, the faculty member should strive to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to be willing to listen to and show respect to members of the society at large who express different opinions, and to avoid creating the impression that the faculty member speaks or acts for the College when speaking or acting as a private person.

A College employee may not use official authority or influence or permit the use of a program administered by the College to interfere with or affect the result of an election or nomination of a candidate or to achieve any other political purpose. A College employee may not coerce, attempt to coerce, command, restrict, attempt to restrict, or prevent the payment, loan, or contribution of anything of value to a person or political organization for a political purpose.

Adopted: 05/2017