Academic Freedom

Main Content

altgeld hall

[The following statement is Article VI, Section 1 of the Statutes of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University.]

Southern Illinois University shall operate under the following principles of academic freedom and responsibility. The purpose of this statement is to promote public understanding and support of academic freedom and tenure and agreement upon procedures to assure them in colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either individual teacher or the institution as a whole. (The word "teacher" as used in this document is understood to include the investigator who is attached to an academic institution without teaching duties.) The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights.

  1. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subjects. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
  3. College or university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of educational institutions. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As persons of learning and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institutions by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinion of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not institutional spokesmen. [1]

    1. The preceding section is a paraphrase from the Bulletin of the AmericanAssociation of University Professors Spring 1950, pp. 45-49.