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SMC|Administration & College Governance|Academic Senate|Academic Freedom and Responsibility Page

Academic Freedom and Responsibility Page

As a resource, here are links and information to learn more about the issue of academic freedom and responsibility:

Community College Academic Senate Statement of Ethics. Adopted in 2002

An additional paper on this topic released in 1994

In California, Senate bill 5 would require that the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges “develop guidelines and implement specified principles relating to academic freedom of a Student Bill of Rights.” The bill failed passage in committee in April, but was granted reconsideration. Here is the text of this bill:

There are student groups mobilizing to demand a student bill of rights. This is a link to one of them so you can understand concerns some students have about the issue of academic freedom in the classroom.

In addition, here is the copy of the Board Policy on Academic Freedom:

Santa Monica Community College District
BOARD OF TRUSTEES POLICY
Section 5000: Curriculum and Instruction
Page 5 Section 5000
Curriculum and Instruction

ARTICLE 5200: ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND
RESPONSIBILITIES

BP 5210 Academic Freedom Statement

Academic freedom is essential not only to examine controversial issues in an objective manner in the classroom, but also to insure access to information sources required for study of such issues. The intellectual search for transmission of knowledge should go forward in an atmosphere free from fear of reprisal, while providing opportunities for critical thinking and understanding of conflicting viewpoints. In order that special interests or conflicting public opinion not impede the educational process, instructors and students must be free to investigate, to form conclusions, and to express judgments and opinions. Academic freedom also includes the right to constructively criticize college policies without fear of retribution. Academic freedom carries with it several responsibilities. Faculty members must strive for factual accuracy and show restraint in dealing with topics outside their area of expertise. While showing respect for the opinions of others, the instructor should, after impartial examination of the evidence, present the conclusions to which the evidence points. Selective omission of available data would not be in keeping with academic responsibility. Promotion of a partisan point of view to a captive audience would be equally unsuitable.

Members of the faculty, administration, college staff and student body should feel free to speak in public forums or write “Letters to the Editor” and write publicly without institutional censorship, as long as they indicate they are not acting as institutional spokespersons. The college has a responsibility to society to defend and maintain academic freedom to insure that educational goals can be achieved and that all fields of knowledge can be studied, discussed, and interpreted in an objective and scholarly manner.

Reference: Title 5, Section 51023

Reviewed and Adopted 12/04/2000