Senate of Michigan Technological University




It is recommended by the University Senate that the following text replace the existing policy statement on academic freedom in the Board of Control Policy Manual and the Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Handbook.

The purpose of this statement is to promote public understanding and support of academic freedom and tenure and agreement upon procedures to assure them in colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student in freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights. [1]

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 return 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 [2]. 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. [3]

c. College and 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 strive to 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. [4]

This policy statement is drawn from the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, with 1970 Interpretive Comments, developed by the American Association of University Professors.

The numerical references in brackets contained within the text connect it to the 1970 interpretive comments. These comments, while not included in the Michigan Technological University Policy Statement on Academic Freedom, are understood to be an essential part of the statement. They provide the primary guidance in understanding the application of the basic statement on Academic Freedom. The interpretive comments are to be found as an appendix to the policy statement (Available by Request from the Senate Office).



Approved by the Senate: 3 May 1995

Senate Approved Provost Recommended Changes: 31 January 1998

Transmitted to the Administration: 4 February 1998