LMU recognizes and fosters a faculty member’s right to academic freedom for the primary purpose of education in the development of intellectual and moral habits of thinking correctly, judging accurately, and acting rightly. Answers to questions are framed on existing federal, state, and local laws and also on current LMU policies, such as The LMU Faculty Handbook, the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the LMU Discriminatory Harassment, Retaliation, and Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Complaint Process Policy, the Reporting Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy, and the California Anti-Bullying Laws and Policies.
To read more about policies protecting academic freedom at LMU, click on the questions below.
Academic freedom is the freedom of a teacher or researcher in higher education to investigate and discuss the issues in his or her academic field, and to teach or publish findings without interference from political figures, boards of trustees, donors, or other entities. Academic freedom also protects the right of a faculty member to speak freely when participating in institutional governance, as well as to speak freely as a citizen.
The University recognizes and fosters a faculty member’s right to academic freedom for the primary purpose of education in the development of intellectual and moral habits of thinking correctly, judging accurately, and acting rightly. All these require a free and unhampered search for and the communication of truth to the extent of his/her ability. Therefore, every University professor has not only the right but also the duty to participate freely in this work of searching after and communicating truth. Academic freedom, like other freedoms, is not and cannot be absolute, and must be exercised within the framework of the mission and goals of the University, the academic environment, and with high respect for the moral law, accepted manners, good taste, the objectives of instruction, and a respectful consideration for the non-academic world.
With these considerations in mind, Loyola Marymount University is in this respect guided by the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.
The academic freedom of faculty members consists of four interrelated elements:
- Teaching: freedom to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom;
- Research: freedom to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression and to publish the results of such work;
- Intramural speech: freedom from institutional censorship or discipline when speaking or writing as participants in the governance of an educational institution; and
- Extramural speech: freedom from institutional censorship or discipline when speaking or writing as citizens.
According to AAUP policies, the freedom to teach includes the right of the faculty to select the materials, determine the approach to the subject, make the assignments, and assess student academic performance in teaching activities for which faculty members are individually responsible. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matters which are unrelated to their subject, or to persistently introduce material which has no relation to the subject. This doesn’t mean teachers should avoid all controversial materials. As long as the material stimulates debate and learning that is germane to the subject matter, it is protected by freedom in the classroom.
Academic freedom and faculty governance are inextricably linked. In order to participate effectively in governance, faculty members must be free to speak truthfully and factually, and in order to protect academic freedom and academic quality at the institution, faculty must participate in governance.
This is arguably the most controversial and most challenged aspect of academic freedom, as it does not necessarily relate to disciplinary expertise. AAUP policies call for faculty members to be free from institutional censorship or discipline when they speak or write as citizens, but they also impose special obligations. When speaking on public matters, faculty should strive to be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show appropriate respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.
The best protection for academic freedom are institutional rules and regulations that comport with procedural recommendations developed by the AAUP, specify how and why an institution can terminate a faculty member’s service, and provide for faculty tenure. Tenured appointments should be terminated only for cause and should be considered by an elected faculty committee.
For questions regarding General Statements of Faculty Rights and Responsibilities; College/School and Departmental Rank and Tenure Standards; Procedures, Roles and Responsibilities for Candidates for Tenure and Promotion; Policy on Recusal, Rank and Tenure Application Standards please check the LMU Faculty Handbook and Handbook Addendum on the link below.
Advancing and protecting academic freedom is the AAUP’s core mission. The foundational policy statement regarding academic freedom remains the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Over the years, the AAUP has addressed the application of the principles of the 1940 statement in many particular circumstances, and has developed sample institutional regulations for protecting academic freedom. Learn more here. The AAUP also conducts research on academic freedom. Learn more here.