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Faculty Handbook on Academic Freedom

Guidelines from MSMC Faculty Handbook

2.23.5. Committee on Academic Freedom

2.2.3.5.1 Composition

The Committee is composed of three (3) members:

  • The Chair, elected for two years from among upper level, tenured faculty,
  • One full-time faculty member with at least two years experience at the College shall be elected by the faculty for a two-year term staggered with that of the Chair, and
  • One other full-time faculty member, to be elected for a one-year term.

2.2.3.5.2 Accountability

All faculty members  and the Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom are directly accountable to the Faculty  of the College, with the election under the supervision of Faculty Policy and the committee guidelines and expectations set forth herein (see sections 2.2.3.5.1 and 2.2.3.5.4).

2.2.3.4.3. Jurisdiction

See section 3.1.1.

2.2.3.5.4 Functions

  • To receive and investigate complaints regarding academic freedom, including questions controversial material used in the classroom.
  • To receive and investigate complaints from faculty members on infringement of academic freedom.
  • To issue advisory opinions regarding academic freedom upon the request of other institutional agencies, including the Faculty Assembly and the Academic Grievance Board.
  • To participate in hearings in cases involving termination for cause of tenured faculty members by ex-officio representation on the Committee on Academic Privilege and Tenure.
  • In performing its  functions the Committee on Academic Freedom is governed by the requirements of reasonable due process, as well as the responsibility to issue a written report to the President of the College.

3.1.1. Academic Freedom In Teaching And Research

Mount St. Mary’s College, adhering to the spirit of the 1940 Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors, believes that:

  • Faculty members are entitled to full academic freedom in research and in the publications of the results, subject to adequate performance of their other academic duties. The exercise of academic freedom should be in accordance with copyright law and the doctrine of “fair use.”  Use of the equipment or resources of the College for personal gain should be negotiated with the authorities of the institution.
  • Faculty members are entitled to academic freedom in the classroom or relevant auxiliaries (such as the use of print or electronic resources in conjunction with a course). However, any use by faculty of controversial or graphic materials should be directly relevant to the subject or skills being taught.  When matters of faith and morality arise, faculty members are expected to recognize and respect the Catholic history and traditions of the College; at the same time allowing students to explore perspectives that may or may not reflect the views of the Catholic Church.
  • In their professional work as a member of a learned profession, faculty members should be free from institutional censorship or discipline as pertains their right to academic freedom. In activities where they are not representing the college, faculty members are responsible for accuracy, restraint, intellectual tolerance, and institutional disassociation.