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Academic Freedom


If you don’t control your research,
who will?

Academic freedom is an indispensable principle of institutions of higher education. As the AAUP’s core policy statement states

  ” … 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” (1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure). This statement “insists that professors should have intellectual autonomy from legislatures, trustees, alumni, parents, and ecclesiastical authorities with regard to their teaching and research. In this respect, it is a legacy of the Enlightenment, which sought—successfully, in those nations most influenced by the Enlightenment—to free scientists and humanists from the dictates of church and state.” (Michael Bérubé, Academe, Nov-Dec. 2006)

How does CSU-AAUP Protect Your Academic Freedom?

For more than ninety years, National AAUP has been engaged in developing standards for protecting academic freedom and in working for the acceptance of these standards by the community of higher education.

Article 4.2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between CSU-AAUP and the Board of Trustees for CSUS contains the following provisions relating to academic freedom to which the parties have agreed to subscribe:

  • All members of the bargaining unit are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Members are also entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their assigned subjects. Members participate as representatives of a learned profession, of an educational institution and of society at large. When they speak or write as members of society, they are free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As persons of learning and educational leaders, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort, where appropriate, to indicate that they do not speak for Connecticut State University (Article 4.2.1).

All members when teaching shall have professional freedom to conduct their courses,

  • provided that the subject matter is that which has been specified by the University and the appropriate department (Article 4.2.2.1).
  • The determination of grades is the responsibility of the instructor of the course. A corollary of this responsibility is the duty of instructors to submit grades to the University Registrar within prescribed time limits. In no case shall an instructor be required to submit final grades in less than three (3) working days from the date of the last scheduled final exam. A grade shall be changed only with the consent of the instructor of the course and with the approval of the appropriate Academic Vice President or Dean, except that, in cases of absence of the instructor or of a palpable injustice, the appropriate method of adjusting grades established by the Senate in each university, in agreement with the President, shall be followed. If a grade is changed, the instructor shall be notified whenever possible (Article 4.2.2.2).

What should I do if my academic freedom has been violated?

If a member has reason to believe that their academic freedom has been violated, s/he should contact her/his local AAUP office as soon as possible. TIMING IS VERY IMPORTANT! Allegations of violation of academic freedom must be filed within thirty days of the incident giving rise to the allegation.

For more information
Please call your local AAUP office and/or review Article 4.2 in the contract.