To: Graduate Instructors in Room 132F
From: James B. South
Re: Office Door
Date: September 5, 2006
I had several complaints today about a quotation that was on the door of CH 132F. I’ve taken the quotation down. While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I’m afraid that hallways and office doors are not “free-speech zones.” If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note.
I call your attention to the following passage from the Marquette Faculty Handbook:
Academic freedom is prized as essential to Marquette University and to its living growth as a university. Professorial academic freedom is that proper to the scholar-teacher, whose profession is to increase knowledge in himself/herself and in others. As proper to the scholar-teacher, academic freedom is grounded on competence and integrity.
When scholar-teachers carry on their academic lives in educational institutions, integrity requires both respect for the objectives of the institution in which they choose to carry on their academic lives and attention to the task of reevaluating these objectives as a necessary condition of living growth in human institutions.
The University, because it prizes academic freedom, proposes the following safeguards* to that freedom:
(a) The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of results, subject to the adequate performance of his/her other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
(b) The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject. This freedom must be integrated with the right of the students not to be victimized and the rights of the institution to have its accepted aims respected.
(c) The college or university teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution.
When he/she speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the civil community imposes special obligations. As a man/woman of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge his/her profession and institution by his her utterances. Hence, he/she should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he/she is not an institutional spokesperson.
*Adapted from the Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom officially endorsed in
1941 by the American Association of Colleges and the American Association of University Professors.
If any of you would like to talk more about this matter, please schedule an appointment with me