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Academic rights

Faculty code on academic freedom

Academic freedom is the freedom to discuss all relevant matters in teaching, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, and to speak or write without institutional discipline or restraint on matters of public concern as well as on matters related to shared governance and the general welfare of the University.

Faculty members have the right to academic freedom and the right to examine and communicate ideas by any lawful means even should such activities generate hostility or pressure against the faculty member or the University. Their exercise of constitutionally protected freedom of association, assembly, and expression, including participation in political activities, does not constitute a violation of duties to the University, to their profession, or to students and may not result in disciplinary action or adverse merit evaluation.

A faculty member’s academic responsibility requires the faithful performance of professional duties and obligations, the recognition of the demands of the scholarly enterprise, and the candor to make it clear that when one is speaking on matters of public interest, one is not speaking for the institution.

Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and regents 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.

The expression of dissent and the attempt to produce change, therefore, may not be carried out in ways that injure individuals and damage institutional facilities or disrupt the classes of one’s instructors or colleagues. Speakers on campus must not only be protected from violence, but also be given an opportunity to be heard. Those who seek to call attention to grievances must not do so in ways that clearly and significantly impede the functions of the University.

Association of American Universities statement on academic freedom

The UW is a member of the Association of American Universities, which comprises America’s leading research universities, and endorses AAU’s statement on academic freedom:

“For many decades certain core principles have guided the conduct of teaching, research, and scholarship at American universities, as well as the ways in which these institutions are governed. There is ample evidence that these principles have strongly contributed to the quality of American universities. The principles have also made these institutions centers of learning for students and professors from around the world who want to learn, to teach, and to conduct research at institutions where freedom of inquiry is assured.”