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V.I. Academic Freedom and Responsibilities

V.I.1.1. Academic Freedom and Responsibilities

Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good, which depends upon a commitment to the values of free inquiry and the free expression of ideas. The College embraces these values. Academic freedom is not only a policy giving faculty latitude in addressing their academic subjects, but remains a crucial component of a larger commitment to the free search for truth. Academic freedom is accompanied by equally demanding responsibilities. Instructors, therefore, have both rights and responsibilities.

(a)    Rights of Instructional Employees

Every instructional employee and employee’s family member has the right to speak or write as a citizen of the nation, state, and community without fear of institutional censorship or discipline so long as the employee is clear that they do not speak on behalf of the College.

Instructional employees have the right to teach class content, including arguably offensive or controversial class content, according to their professional judgment within the guidelines established by the curriculum team, state governing bodies, accrediting agencies, this manual, and as required by federal, state, or local laws. Absent the limitations in this section, instructional employees have the right to remain true to their pedagogical philosophies and intellectual commitments when teaching.

(b)   Responsibilities of Instructional Employees

Faculty members will strive to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint when necessary, and to avoid creating the impression that they speak or act for the College when speaking or acting as private citizens. Every instructional employee maintains competency in their field through continued professional development and demonstration of such competence in the teaching environment. As such, they have the right to be supported by the College in professional-development efforts to help maintain competency in their disciplinary fields and instructional skills.

Faculty members will respect the rights of others to hold and articulate opinions, whether or not the faculty member shares the opinion—especially the instructor’s students that disagree with the instructional employee’s opinions. Instructional employees will maintain academic standards with respect to learning outcomes and the accrediting body’s requirements.  

(c)   Challenges to Academic Freedom

Challenges to the content of a course may be brought to an instructional employee’s dean or vice president. The appropriateness of the content will be determined by the Vice President of Instruction.

Should a faculty member feel his or her academic freedom has been infringed upon by a student, colleague, or supervisor, the faculty member should express concerns to the Chief Academic Officer of the college.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on February 2, 2017