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Academic Freedom
At a glace

View scholarly inquiry as an on-going conversation that is enriched by the diverse voices and angles of vision of all speakers and listeners;

Affirm the right to hold and express personal opinions, to seek change, to ask questions, and to investigate freely;

Protect the rights to be heard of those with whom we disagree as zealously as we protect the rights of those with whom we agree;

Teach, study, and work within the rules of a free and civil society, following the state educational code, statutory law, college policy, and class rules and showing equal respect for all persons in the college community;

Protect the First Amendment rights of all who speak and all who listen on this campus;

Welcome the responsibilities of academic freedom, recognizing that freedom means liberty, not license.

Protect the rights of all participants to be free from coercion, intimidation, or punitive repercussions;

Grading Policies
At a glace


Administrative Regulation of Board Policy BP 7115 (AR 7115.1)

The Statement

They [students to] avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment... [from professors]


[Professors] adhere to Course Outline of Records, selecting relevant material, teaching with honesty and fairness, and avoiding the substation of indulgent self-reflection of scholarly inquiry.

Base grade on the fair, objective, and prompt evaluation of student performance.

Affirm [from student that a syllabus based on the Course Outline of Records constitutes an understanding between student and instructor and that fair, objective grading must be based solely on student performance.

Implement rules, laws, polities, statues, and guidelines consistently, fairly, and equally for all persons.



Section 55023

The grade assigned to a student is to be based on the extent to which the student demonstrates proficiency in subject matter by means of written communication, problem solving, and / or skill demonstrations, as appropriate to the course content.


AP 4231

The determination of the student's grade by the instructor is final in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetence. “Mistake” may include, but is not limited to, errors made by an instructor in calculating a student’s grade and clerical errors. “Fraud” may include, but is not limited to, inaccurate recording or change of a grade by any person who gains access to grade records without authorization. “Bad Faith” may include, but is not limited to, an intentional act of dishonesty.


Course Approval Regulations Guidelines

Section 55002

Grading Policy: ... The grade is based on demonstrated proficiency in the subject matter and the ability to demonstrate that proficiency, at least in part, by means of written expression that may include essays, or, in courses where the curriculum committee deems them to be appropriate, by problem solving exercises or skill demonstrations by students.

Course outline of Record: The course outline shall also specify types or provide examples of knowledge. The course outline shall also specify types to provide examples of required reading and writing assignment, other outside-of-class assignments, instructional methodology, and methods of evaluation for determining whether the stated objectives have been met by students. Taken together, there coursed specifications shall be such as to typically enable any student who successfully completes all of the assigned work prescribed in the outline of record to successfully meet the course objectives.

Ethics Standards
At a glace



[Professors] ... practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

...Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors... They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students...They protect their academic freedom.

 As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas professors show due respect for the opinions of others. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.

Academic responsibility requires professors to submit their knowledge and claims to rigorous and public review by peers who are experts in the subject matter under consideration; to ground their arguments in the best available evidence; and to work together to foster the education of students...

Today, new challenges to academic freedom have arisen from both the right and the left... Some protestors have sought to silence—rather than debate—positions with which they do not agree.

The clash of competing ideas is an important catalyst, not only for the expansion of knowledge but also in students’ development of independent critical judgment. Recognizing this dynamic, many well‐ intentioned observers underline the importance of “teaching all sides of the debate” in college classrooms. Teaching the debates is important but by no means sufficient. It is also essential that faculty help students learn—through their college studies—to engage differences of opinion, evaluate evidence, and form their own grounded judgments about the relative value of competing perspectives. This too is an essential part of higher education’s role both in advancing knowledge and in sustaining a society that is free, diverse, and democratic.

When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.





Building such intellectual and personal capacities is the right way to warn students of the inappropriateness and dangers of indoctrination, help them see through the distortions of propaganda, and enable them to assess judiciously the persuasiveness of powerful emotional appeals. Emphasizing the quality of analysis helps students see why unwelcome views need to be heard rather than silenced. By thoughtfully engaging diverse perspectives, liberal education leads to greater personal freedom through greater competence. Ensuring that college students are liberally educated is essential both to a deliberative democracy and to an economy dependent on innovation.


A college or university is a dedicated social place where a variety of competing claims to truth can be explored and tested, free from political interference. The persons who drive the production of knowledge and the process of education are highly trained professors, and they, through an elaborate process of review by professional peers, take responsibility as a community for the quality of their scholarship, teaching, and student learning.

The development of a body of knowledge involves scientists or other scholars in developing their best ideas and then subjecting them to empirical tests and/or searching scholarly criticism. Knowledge is not simply a matter of making an assertion but of developing the evidence for that assertion in terms that gain acceptance among those with the necessary training and expertise to evaluate the scholarly analysis ...

... By creating such communities of inquiry, the academy ensures that no proposal stands without alternatives or arrogates to itself the claim of possessing the sole truth. The advancement of knowledge requires that intellectual differences be engaged and explored even as individuals with different points of view are also respected.


.... In a learning context, one must both respect those who disagree with oneself and also maintain an atmosphere of civility. Anything less creates a hostile environment that limits intellectual diversity and, therefore, the quality of learning

Students do not have a right to remain free from encountering unwelcome or “inconvenient questions,” in the words of Max Weber. Students who accept the literal truth of creation narratives do not have a right to avoid the study of the science of evolution in a biology course; ... Students do have a right to hear and examine diverse opinions, but within the frameworks that knowledgeable scholars—themselves subject to rigorous standards of peer review— have determined to be reliable and accurate. ...

All competing ideas on a subject do not deserve to be included in a course or program, or to be regarded as equally valid just because they have been asserted. For example, creationism, even in its modern guise as “intelligent design,” has no standing among experts in the life sciences because its claims cannot be tested by scientific methods.  However, creationism and intelligent design might well be studied in a wide range of other disciplinary contexts such as the history of ideas or the sociology of religion.



Although one often hears that faculty “impart knowledge” to students, the reality is that, in a good liberal education, substantial time is devoted to teaching students how to acquire new knowledge for themselves and how to evaluate evidence within different areas of knowledge. ...


To help students think critically about a subject or problem, faculty members need to take seriously what students already know or believe about that topic and engage that prior understanding so new learning modifies the old—complicating, correcting, and expanding it. ...


Expressing one’s ideas and entertaining divergent perspectives—about race, gender, religion, or cultural values, for example—can be frightening for students. They require a safe environment in order to feel free to express their own views. They need confidence that they will not be subjected to ridicule by either students or professors. They have a right to be graded on the intellectual merit of their arguments, uninfluenced by the personal views of professors. And, of course, they have a right to appeal if they are not able to reach a satisfactory resolution of differences with a professor.

Research shows that students tend to develop intellectual and ethical capacities through a series of predictable stages. Students frequently enter college with a “black and white” view of the world, see things as either good or bad, and expect their professors and textbooks to serve as definitive authorities. Part of the job of becoming educated involves breaking out of this dualistic mindset. ...

Thus it is vital that liberal education be organized to help students progress to a third, more mature, mental framework in which they form judgments—even in the face of continuing disagreement—about the relative merits of different views, based on careful evaluation of assumptions, arguments, and evidence. ...

In this process, it is important that students be asked to assess competing points of view and to address them in making their own arguments. A good analysis does not simply ignore competing perspectives; rather, it takes them thoughtfully and carefully into account. ...


Academic freedom is sometimes confused with autonomy, thought and speech freed from all constraints. But academic freedom implies not just freedom from constraint but also freedom for faculty and students to work within a scholarly community to develop the intellectual and personal qualities required of citizens in a vibrant democracy and participants in a vigorous economy. Academic freedom is protected by society so that faculty and students can use that freedom to promote the larger good.


This document articulates an ideal that is based on historic conceptions of academic freedom and extends those precepts to include responsibilities for the holistic education of students. In reality, practice often falls short of these norms. Departments and sometimes whole institutions do not always establish widely shared goals for student learning, programs may drift away from original intentions, and assessments may be inadequate. Some departments fail to ensure that their curricula include the full diversity of legitimate intellectual perspectives appropriate to their disciplines. And individual faculty members sometimes express their personal views to students in ways that intimidate them. There are institutional means for dealing with these matters, and in all of these areas, there is room for improvement. The key to improvement is clarity about the larger purpose of academic freedom and about the educational responsibilities it is designed to advance.

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