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Faculty Code of Ethics and Conduct - 1Q1

Statement on Professional Ethics

  1. Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, 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 they devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although they may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

  2. As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly standards of their discipline. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual, and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors. They make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that their evaluation of students reflects their true merit. They 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. They protect their academic freedom.

  3. As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. They respect and defend the free inquiry of their associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, they show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge their academic debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.

  4. As members of their institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although they observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided they do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. They determine the amount and character of the work they do outside their institution with due regard to their paramount responsibilities within it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, they recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.

  5. As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of any citizen. They measure the urgency of these obligations in light of their responsibilities to their subjects, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as a private person, they avoid creating the impression that they speak or act for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

Statement on Freedom and Responsibility

Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and trustees 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 which injure individuals or damage institutional facilities or disrupt the classes of one's teachers or colleagues. Speakers on campus must not only be protected from violence, but given an opportunity to be heard. Those who seek to call attention to grievances must not do so in ways that significantly impede the functions of the institution.

Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to evenhanded treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship. Faculty members may not refuse to enroll or teach students on the grounds of their beliefs or the possible uses to which they may put the knowledge to be gained in a course. The student should not be forced by the authority inherent in the instructional role to make particular personal choices as to political action or their own part in society. Evaluation of students and the award of credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree of political activism, or personal beliefs.

A faculty member should recognize that this privilege carries with it the responsibility to present material relevant to the subject matter of the course. Faculty cannot take advantage of their position by discussing material for which there is no relation to the subject or by failing to present the subject matter of the course as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum.

Because academic freedom has traditionally included the instructor's full freedom as a citizen, most faculty members face no insoluble conflicts between the claims of politics, social action, and conscience, on the one hand, and the claims and expectations of their students, colleagues, and institutions, on the other. If such conflicts become acute, and the instructor's attention to their obligation as a citizen and moral agent precludes the fulfillment of substantial academic obligations, they cannot escape the responsibility of that choice, but should either request a leave of absence or resign their academic position.

First, the faculty should take the initiative, working with the administration and other components of the institution, to develop and maintain an atmosphere of freedom, commitment to academic inquiry, and respect for the academic rights of others. The faculty should also join with other members of the academic community in the development of procedures to be used in the event of serious disruption, or the threat of disruption, and should ensure its consultation in major decisions, particularly those related to the calling of external security forces to the campus.

Second, systematic attention should be given to questions related to sanctions other than dismissal, such as warnings and reprimands, in order to provide a range of academic sanctions.

Third, there is need for the faculty to assume a more positive role as guardian of academic values against unjustified assaults from its own members. The traditional faculty function in disciplinary proceedings has been to assure academic due process and meaningful faculty participation in the imposition of discipline by the administration. While this function should be maintained, faculties should recognize their stake in promoting adherence to norms essential to the academic enterprise.

Rules designed to meet these needs for faculty self-regulation and flexibility of sanctions should be adopted on each campus in response to local circumstances and to continue experimentation. In all sanctioning efforts, however, it is vital that proceedings be conducted with fairness to the individual, that faculty judgments play a crucial role and that adverse judgments be founded on demonstrated violations of appropriate norms.

From "Statement on Professional Ethics," published in the A.A.U.P. Bulletin (Vol. 55, No. 1, Spring, 1969, pp. 86-87).

From "Statement on Freedom and Responsibility," published in Academe (Vol. 4, No. 5, December 1970, p. 2.)

Approved by Chancellor effective 9/2/98
This policy was issued on July 12, 2002, replacing the September 17, 1998 version.
Document Reference: 1Q1
Origin: WC 6-70/71; WC 1-97/98

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