Ohio Summary of Current Academic Freedom Policies · 26 April 2005

Filed under: Commentary, Ohio


By Sara Dogan--SAF--04/27/05

University of Akron:

The Rules of the University section 3359-20-03-B on "The faculty: general personnel" policies, state that: The university of Akron subscribes to the following statements from the "academic freedom and tenure" document as presented in the quarterly "academe" publication of the American association of university professors:

(2) 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. 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 (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.uakron.edu/ogc/rules/Rules20/20-03f.pdf

An additional policy (Rules of the University 3359-42-01) addressing "student rights and responsibilities" states that:

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. These freedoms depend upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community. All members of the university community share the right and responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to enjoyment of these freedoms which are inalienable….At the university of Akronstudents have both the right and the responsibility to engage in free inquiry and expression when relevant to the subject under discussion. Students are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled and they shall comport themselves in a mature responsible manner and shall be held responsible for maintaining established standards of academic performance….Students have the right to expect effective instruction and to have their performance evaluated solely on an academic basis. Students should be informed by each instructor at the beginning of each course of the procedures and standards, including class attendance requirements, etc., by which they will be graded. Any student who believes unfair treatment has been received in the classroom has the right to seek and receive from the instructor the reason for the instructor's action. If the student still questions the fairness of the instructor's action, the student has the right to appeal in turn to the head of the department or division, the dean of the college in which the course is given, and the senior vice president and provost (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.uakron.edu/ogc/rules/Rules40/42-01f.doc

Analysis: The policies of the University of Akron do accord with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should not introduce into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. While the University policies on academic freedom do not explicitly call for professors to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, they do state that the freedoms to teach and learn "depend upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community" and that students "have the right to expect effective instruction."

It is commendable that the Akron policies explicitly allow students to file grievances when they question "the fairness of the instructor's action" but we would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Bowling Green State University:

The BGSU Academic Charter, Division II: Faculty Handbook, Section B-II.F: Ethical Responsibilities, states that:

The faculty of BGSU reaffirms that the following are an accepted part of their responsibilities as teacher-scholars:

(1) The responsibility to assure the student's freedom to learn, through maintaining an atmosphere conducive to free inquiry, the respect of the student as an individual, and the evaluation of students based on professionally judged academic performance without regard to personal or political matters irrelevant to that performance.

(2) The responsibility to exercise intellectual honesty, through the development and improvement of one's scholarly competence, the exercise of critical self discipline and judgment, and the avoidance of subsidiary interests that compromise or hamper freedom of inquiry.

(3) The responsibility to state clearly the objectives of the courses taught, to direct the instruction toward the fulfillment of these objectives, andto avoid the persistent intrusion of material irrelevant to the established course definition or apart from the faculty member's area of scholarly competence. (emphasis added).


Reference: http://www.bgsu.edu/downloads/bgsu/file918.pdf

Analysis: The policies of Bowling Green State University accord with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid persistently introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. While the University policies on academic freedom do not explicitly call for professors to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, they do state that professors have a responsibility "to assure the student's freedom to learn, through maintaining an atmosphere conducive to free inquiry" and "the respect of the student as an individual."

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the persistent introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Cleveland State University:

The faculty contract between Cleveland State University and the American Association of University Professors CSU Chapter, valid through August 15, 2006, states that:

10.2 Faculty 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.

11.1 Both parties endorse the AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. However, when there is a conflict between the contract and the AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the contract language shall prevail.

11.2 PROFESSIONAL ETHICS. Membership in the academic community imposes on faculty, administrators, trustees and students an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off the campus.

A. The primary responsibility of the faculty is to their subject and to seeking and stating the truth. To this end, faculty shall devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They shall accept the obligations to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge. They shall practice intellectual honesty and never allow subsidiary interests they may follow to hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry…..B. As teachers, faculty shall encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Faculty shall demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.csuohio.edu/aaup/contract/2004contract/article10.htm

http://www.csuohio.edu/aaup/contract/2004contract/article11.htm

Analysis: The faculty contract at Cleveland State University accords with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. While the University policies on academic freedom do not explicitly call for professors to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, they do state that professors have "an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off the campus."

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the persistent introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

University of Cincinnati:

The Rules of the University, Section 50-7-01-D states that:

Instructional personnel shall enjoy academic freedom, but, this does not mean license free from all responsibility; nor the use of class time to present propaganda on controversial issues; nor the use of class time to discuss matter that are not germane to the specialty which they have been appointed to teach; nor in class seek to elicit and/or attack the views of any student on a subject not germane to the officially announced subject matter of the course.

Reference: http://www.uc.edu/trustees/rules/RuleDetail.asp?ID=211

Analysis: The University of Cincinnati policy accords with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course, and in fact goes further in calling for professors to avoid attacking the views "of any student on a subject not germane to the officially announced subject matter of the course." While the University policies on academic freedom do not explicitly call for professors to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, they do state that professors "should encourage and protect free intellectual inquiry, including the examination of unorthodox or controversial ideas."

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the persistent introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Kent State University:

In the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Kent State University and the American Association of University Professors, Kent State Chapter, Article IV on Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility states:

Section 1. The parties recognize that membership in the academic profession carries with it both special rights and also special responsibilities. Accordingly, the parties reaffirm their mutual commitment to the concepts of academic freedom and professional responsibility.

Section 2. As stated in the American Association of University Professors' 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, Faculty members are entitled to freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties. The principles of academic freedom and freedom of inquiry shall be interpreted to include freedom of expression in both traditional print and newly-emerging electronic formats such as the creation of digital images, web sites, or home pages.

Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom (including the virtual 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. In making public statements -- including the exercise of the right to responsible dissent on matters of institutional policy or educational philosophy -- members of the Faculty have an obligation to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show respect for the opinions of others and to make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the University.

Section 3. As stated in the American Association of University Professors' 1966 Statement on Professional Ethics, Faculty members, in exercising their professional roles as teacher, scholar and colleague, accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge and to practice intellectual honesty in accord with the standards of expectation of their respective disciplines and of the University's Faculty Code of Professional Ethics (emphasis added).

Reference: http://dept.kent.edu/aaup/cba2001/article4.htm

Analysis: The academic freedom policy of Kent State University as stated in the collective bargaining agreement accords with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. This policy does not however address the need for faculty to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach.

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Miami University:

Section 5 of the Miami University Policy and Information Manual on the "Rigts and Responsibilities of the Instructional Staff" states:

5.1 Principles of Academic Freedom

The following statement of principles of academic freedom adopted by the American Association of University Professors in 1940 was approved by the Board of Trustees, June of 1950:

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. (The word "teacher" as used in this document is understood to include the investigator who is attached to an academic institution without teaching duties.)

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 to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights….

5.2 Faculty Responsibilities

The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the performance of his or her other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his or her subject, but should be careful not to introduce into his or her teaching controversial matter that has no relation to the subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of appointment….

5.3 Professional Ethics and Responsibilities

The University Senate, on February 13, 1969, adopted the "Statement on Professional Ethics" of the American Association of University Professors.

The professor, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognizes the special responsibilities placed upon them. The professor's primary responsibility to his or her subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end they will devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. The faculty member accepts the obligation to exercise critical self‑discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although he or she may follow subsidiary interests, these interests may never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in students. Teachers exemplify the best scholarly standards of their disciplines. They demonstrate respect for students as individuals, and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Professors make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that their evaluations of students reflect students' true merit. Faculty members respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation of students for their private advantage and acknowledge significant assistance from them. Professors protect their academic freedom….

5.4 Statement of Good Teaching Practices

Every instructor is responsible for…

4. informing students of the generally accepted conclusion on the subject matter of the course when those conclusions differ from the conclusions of the instructor;

7. being fair and impartial in evaluating all student performances, i.e., evaluating all students according to common criteria;

10. treating students with courtesy and respect at all times. Courtesy and respect do not prohibit strong criticism directed at the student's academic errors and scholarly responsibilities;

11. endeavoring to ensure that the learning environment is free from all forms of prejudice that negatively influence student learning, such as those based on age, ethnicity, gender, mental or physical impairment, race, religion, or sexual orientation;

5.5 Student Complaints about the Quality of Instruction

Under ordinary circumstances, a student approaching an administrator to complain about a member of the instructional staff will be encouraged first of all to confer with the faculty member and seek a resolution. When a student is unable to resolve a difficulty with an instructor to the student's satisfaction, there are two acceptable ways in which the student may lodge a complaint against a member of the instructional staff before an administrator or any person who has administrative duties. The student may file a formal grievance or the student may submit a letter of complaint to the administrator. Anonymous or unsigned statements must be disregarded and destroyed. Formal letters of complaint are to be filed in the departmental student complaint file.

Upon receipt and before acting upon a letter of complaint, the staff member shall be informed of the complaint and given timely opportunity to rebut the accusations or explain the circumstances as viewed by the staff member. If submitted, documents presenting the staff member's position also are to be placed in the departmental student complaint file.

The student who files a complaint is entitled to know how the complaint was processed and what actions were taken in response to it (emphasis added).


Reference: http://www.units.muohio.edu/secretary/mupim/

http://www.units.muohio.edu/secretary/mupim/MUPIM_word/08_Section%205,%20RR%20Inst%20Staff.doc

Analysis: The policies of Miami University do accord with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should not introduce into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. The policies also explicitly lay out several faculty responsibilities that instructors should follow including the responsibility for instructors to inform students "of the generally accepted conclusion on the subject matter of the course when those conclusions differ from the conclusions of the instructor" and the responsibility for instructors to treat "students with courtesy and respect at all times."

Instructors are also held responsible for "endeavoring to ensure that the learning environment is free from all forms of prejudice that negatively influence student learning, such as those based on age, ethnicity, gender, mental or physical impairment, race, religion, or sexual orientation." These faculty responsibilities all echo the academic freedom policies found in Senate Bill 24, particularly the obligation for faculty to "make their students aware of serious scholarly viewpoints other than their own through classroom discussion or dissemination of written materials."

It is commendable that the Miami U. policies explicitly allow students to file grievances when they encounter "difficulty with an instructor," but the specifics of when students may file a grievance are left vague. We would recommend that the faculty policies forbidding the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom and holding professors responsible for making students aware of other viewpoints when the generally accepted conclusions on the subject differ from the instructors' views be formulated as student rights. We would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach, not only in the case where the instructors' views differ from the generally accepted conclusions of the field.

Ohio State University:

The Rules of the University Faculty of Ohio State Univesrity, section 3335-5-01 on academic freedom and responsibility state that:

(A) The Ohio state university endorses full academic freedom as essential to attain the goal of the free search for truth and its free exposition. Academic freedom and academic responsibility are twin guardians of the integrity of institutions of higher learning. This integrity is essential to the preservation of a free society and explains the willingness of society historically to accept the concept of academic freedom and, in addition, to protect it through the institution of academic tenure.

(B) The principal elements of academic freedom include the freedom of teachers to:

(1) Teach, conduct research, and publish research findings;

(2) Discuss in classrooms, in their own manner, any material that is relevant to the subject matter as defined in the course syllabus;

(3) Exercise their constitutional rights as citizens without institutional censorship or discipline;

(4) Seek changes in academic and institutional policies through lawful and peaceful means.

(C) Academic freedom carries with it correlative academic responsibilities. The principal elements include the responsibility of teachers to:

(1) Meet their defined teaching, research, and service obligations;

(2) Pursue excellence, intellectual honesty, and objectivity in teaching, in conducting research, and in publishing research findings;

(3) Encourage students and colleagues to engage in free discussion and inquiry;

(4) Evaluate student and colleague performance on a scholarly basis;

(5) Refrain from persistently introducing matters that have no bearing on the subject matter of the course;

(6) Work with appropriate individuals and bodies to provide optimal conditions conducive to the attainment of the free search for truth and its free exposition;

(7) Differentiate carefully between official activities as teachers and personal activities as citizens, and to act accordingly. (B/T
9/14/65, B/T 5/2/75, B/T 3/1/85) (emphasis added).

Reference: http://trustees.osu.edu/rules5/ru5-01.html

Analysis: The policies of Ohio State University accord with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid persistently introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. While the University policies on academic freedom do not explicitly call for professors to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, they do state that professors have a responsibility "Work with appropriate individuals and bodies to provide optimal conditions conducive to the attainment of the free search for truth and its free exposition."

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the persistent introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Ohio University:

The Ohio University Faculty Handbook states in Section I on Academic Freedom that:

3. Academic Freedom

a. The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his/her other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

b. All 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 that has no relation to their subject. 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 (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.ohio.edu/facultysenate/handbook/I-Academic-Freedom.cfm

Analysis: The academic freedom policy of Ohio University as stated in the faculty handbook accords with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. This policy does not however address the need for faculty to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach.

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

University of Toledo:

The policy of the University of Toledo as approved by the Board of Trustees, Section II-1 on University Faculty and Instructional Staff states:

E. Academic Freedom

1. Instructional staff are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties…..

2. Instructional staff are entitled to full freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they shall be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject….

F. Professional Ethics

1. Instructional staff, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, shall recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end instructional staff shall devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They have an obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They shall practice intellectual honesty. Although instructional staff may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

2. As teachers, instructional staff shall encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They shall hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Instructional staff shall demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Instructional staff shall make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They shall respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They shall avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They shall acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students. They shall protect students' academic freedom…. (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.utoledo.edu/policy/index.asp?id=38

Analysis: The academic freedom policies of the University of Toledo accord with Senate Bill 24 in stating that professors should avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. This policy does not however address the need for faculty to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach.

We would recommend that the faculty policy forbidding the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom be formulated as a student right and would further recommend that the student grievance policy be amended to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Wright State University:

The collective bargaining agreement between Wright State University and the Wright State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, valid until June 05, 2005, states in Article 5 on Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities that:

5.1.1 Academic freedom is essential for the proper development of the University. It functions to protect the institution from unwarranted interference by external groups and to ensure the retention of the services of those whose contributions toward its goals make them an essential part of the faculty. In so doing, it secures the autonomy and integrity of the University and makes its development as an intellectual community an object of primary concern.

5.1.2 Academic freedom is the unqualified right of every Member of the Bargaining Unit, whether or not that person possesses tenure. It carries a reciprocal obligation to respect and maintain the academic freedom of every other member of the University community.

5.1.3 Bargaining Unit Faculty are entitled to freedom in research and artistic expression and in the publication, display or performance of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties.

5.1.4 Bargaining Unit Faculty are entitled to freedom to teach, profess and discuss material in the classroom subject to limits detailed below.

5.2 Professional Responsibilities:

5.2.1 Members of the Bargaining Unit, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, shall recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and state the truth as they see it. To this end Members shall devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They have an obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They shall practice intellectual honesty. Although Members may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

5.2.2 As teachers, Bargaining Unit Faculty shall encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They shall hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Bargaining Unit Faculty shall demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Members of the Bargaining Unit shall make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They shall avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They shall acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students. They shall protect students' academic freedom (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.wright.edu/admin/aaup/Contract.html#5

One recent change was made to this Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Wright State University website notes that "The administration presented the proposal shown below for revising Article 5 "Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities" in our current CBA on January 21, 2005. Our Negotiating Team agreed to the administration's proposal at the negotiating session of February 11." The proposal mentioned made only one change to the previous policy as stated above which is to strike the key sentence "They shall protect students' academic freedom" from section 5.2.2. The proposal to strike this phrase can be found here: http://wright.edu/admin/aaup/art5.html though no explanation of why the phrase was stricken is provided.

Additionally, the Wright State University Statement on Faculty Responsibilities from the Faculty Handbook states in part:

The mission statement of Wright State University emphasizes that "Wright State University is a comprehensive public university dedicated to advancing and disseminating knowledge through the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and professional service….At Wright State University, undergraduate education is the heart of our diverse teaching enterprise, the other important components of which include two-year programs, certificate programs, and professional and graduate courses of study. Excellence in teaching is complemented by excellence in scholarship and service; thus, student learning outcomes are enhanced by the linkage of these three faculty responsibilities.

Teaching

At Wright State University, student learning is the primary objective. Hence, even though scholarship and service are important components of a faculty member's responsibilities, teaching is the primary function of the faculty. Teaching takes many forms, including lectures, seminar discussions, individual tutorial sessions, laboratory exercises, and other types of instruction. Whatever the format, however, teaching entails a concerted effort to work closely with students, to train them in the methods of a discipline and of its substantive content, and to develop in them the ability to analyze and to synthesize (emphasis added).

Reference: http://www.wright.edu/academics/fhandbook/responsibilities.html

Analysis: The academic freedom policies of Wright State University do not appear to address the need for professors to avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. These policies similarly do not address the need for faculty to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, though they make the related statement that faculty should train students " in the methods of a discipline and of its substantive content."

Given these deficits, it is stunning that the University administration and faculty union made the recent decision to delete a sentence in the faculty collective bargaining agreement which specifically addressed students' academic freedom. Vague as this statement was, it at least recognized the responsibility of faculty members to preserve and protect the academic freedom of their students.

We would recommend that Wright State University adopt both a faculty and student policy addressing the need for professors to avoid the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom and that the University amend its student grievance policy to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Youngstown State University:

The Youngstown State University Statement of Ethics states that:

We, the faculty and administrative members of the Youngstown State University community, strive to create an environment that fosters excellence in teaching, learning, scholarship, university, and public service….the unfettered search for and dissemination of knowledge requires honesty both in its pursuit and communication. Moreover, professional autonomy, a hallmark of higher education, is preserved when it is exercised within the context of the principles this Statement supports….Through a respect for persons, we guarantee some basic rights and equal access to these rights as the respective benefits of the many facets of our environment. We all have a right to be heard. Included in this right is the requirement to work towards an environment that not only allows people to be heard but also empowers them to the point of making themselves heard. This includes the duty of not silencing others through discriminatory or prejudicial behavior, as well as the duty of seeking to eradicate that behavior which drowns out the voices that are typically heard less often. We all have a right to be safe. Included in this right is the freedom from exploitative power relationships. Within any community there are power differentials, but when such distinctions are enacted with an underlying respect for persons and their role in the community, destructive effects are minimized. Finally, we all have a right to be valued. Included in this right is the requirement to value others, such that we respect their privacy and confidentiality….

Responsibility

As educational leaders, faculty and administrative members of our University community must demonstrate responsibility to our students, colleagues, institution, discipline, and community.

Within the YSU community, we recognize the responsibility to value all students. In order to contribute to the ongoing development of students, we will value their opinions, time, and academic contributions. Within this framework of responsibility, classroom performance will be assessed in ways that are valid, open, fair, and consistent. As members of the YSU community, we recognize the responsibility of demonstrating that we value the dignity of our colleagues in such a way as to preserve their academic, professional, and personal reputation. Members of our community are to work cooperatively with colleagues to foster professional development.

Members of the institution are to be aware of and value the educational goals, policies, and standards of the institution. Members agree to work for the good of the institution as a whole and will endeavor to abide by stated University policies and regulations that pertain to its well-being. Neither outside commitments nor personal gain will be allowed to come into conflict with this responsibility.

Members of the YSU community shall maintain a high regard for and a continued involvement in the discipline in which they are involved. This requires gaining and maintaining a high level of valid knowledge that ensures that professional expertise is accurate, current, representative, appropriate, and without personal bias….

Reference: http://cc.ysu.edu/acad-senate/ethics_statement.htm

Additionally, The Student Handbook at Youngstown State states that students have the right to "free inquiry, expression, and/or Assembly" and "The right to pursue educational goals and appropriate opportunities for learning in the classroom and on campus though no explicit mention of academic freedom was found to be listed among these rights.

Reference: http://penguinconnection.ysu.edu/rights/the_code_2001.pdf

Analysis: It should be noted that the attempts to research the academic freedom policies of Youngstown State University through the university website were extremely frustrating. A search of the site using the keywords "academic freedom" revealed a faculty senate resolution opposing Senate Bill 24, but did not help in locating YSU's actual policies. Further attempts to locate university policies turned up references to a "University Guidebook" and "Faculty Handbook" but numerous attempts to locate these complete documents online were unsuccessful.

With this caveat, the academic freedom policies of Youngstown State University, so far as they were able to be examined on the University website, do not appear to address the need for professors to avoid introducing into their teaching controversial material which is irrelevant to the subject of the course. These policies similarly do not address the need for faculty to present a diverse range of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects they teach, though they do note the importance of allowing all viewpoints to be heard and the "responsibility to value all students."

We would therefore recommend that Wright State University adopt both a faculty and student policy addressing the need for professors to avoid the introduction of irrelevant controversial material in the classroom and that the University amend its student grievance policy to explicitly state that students have the right to file a grievance when their professors persistently introduce controversial material in the classroom that is irrelevant to the subject of the course or otherwise violate students' academic freedom. Additionally, we suggest that the university make explicit the need for faculty to present a spectrum of "significant scholarly viewpoints" on the subjects they teach.

Note: The policies quoted in this document are excerpts of the originals that were cut for reasons of length and to draw attention to the passages which relate to Senate Bill 24. To view the complete policies, please visit the websites given in the reference links.