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I-24: Academic Freedom Policy

Policy Number: I-24
Last Reviewed: January 31, 2013
Responsible Dept.: Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

Faculty have the right to exercise their constitutional rights and academic freedom as set forth in the Statement of Academic Freedom and Responsibility as adopted by the State Board for Community Colleges (VCCS Policy Manual 3.5.5, p. 3-32), which states,

"To ensure the college an instructional program marked by excellence, the Virginia Community College System supports the concept of academic freedom. In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, college faculty and students must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism.

Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but should be careful not to introduce teaching matters which have no relation to their fields. Faculty and students must be able to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence and to participate as responsible citizens in community affairs.

The System also recognizes that commitment to every freedom carries with it attendant responsibilities. Faculty members must fulfill responsibility to society and to their profession by manifesting academic competence, professional discretion, and good citizenship. When they speak or write as a citizen, they will be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As professional educators, they must remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not an institutional spokesperson."

In addition, faculty evaluations and college policies or practices are not used to restrain Virginia Western faculty members from exercising their constitutional rights to academic freedom.

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