Part 3 - Comprehensive Standards
  

3.7.4  The institution ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom. (Academic freedom)

Compliance
Partial Compliance
Non-Compliance

Narrative

Academic freedom is fundamental to the University mission of achieving excellence in undergraduate and graduate education.  In accordance with the Louisiana Board of Regents' Statement on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Responsibility as well as University of Louisiana System Bylaw Ch 3, Section 1A, the University supports and protects academic freedom by incorporating the concept into its policies and procedures.

Section 3.2 of the UNO Employee Handbook [Page: 31] includes the following language regarding academic freedom:

The University of Louisiana System is committed to the principle of academic freedom. This principle acknowledges the right of a teacher to explore fully within the field of assignment and to give in the classroom and elsewhere such exposition of the subject as the teacher believes to represent the truth. This principle also includes the right of a member of the academic staff of the university system to exercise in speaking, writing, and action outside the University other ordinary rights of a citizen, but it does not decrease the responsibility that the member of the academic staff bears to the university system, the state, and the nation. A member of the academic staff not officially designated to represent the university system must indicate clearly that he or she is speaking as an individual citizen.

Among the many implicit responsibilities that must be assumed by those enjoying the privileges of academic freedom is that of refraining from insisting upon the adoption by students or others of any particular point of view as authoritative in controversial issues. Moreover, although all faculty are entitled to freedom of speech in public fora, they are expected to make clear in these instances that they speak as private citizens and not as official representatives of the university.

Section 3.8 of the UNO Employee Handbook [Page: 43] includes the following language regarding university policy on faculty conduct related to academic freedom:

The University of New Orleans strives to protect academic freedom and academic due process.  With freedom come certain obligations for faculty members.  This document outlines those privileges and obligations and also details the procedures that will be followed at the University of New Orleans when dealing with alleged faculty misconduct. The most severe sanctions (demotion, suspension, and dismissal) enumerated in Section III, B. 6, 7, and 8 below, must be recommended by the President to the President of the UL System.  The UL System requires each campus to provide an internal grievance procedure in Chapter III, Section XIV. (Grievance Procedures) of the UL System Bylaws.

UNO procedures related to grievances are described in Section 3.9 of the UNO Employee Handbook [Page: 43] .  A faculty member who feels that his or her academic freedom has been infringed upon may file a grievance in accordance with these procedures.

A number of other University policies and procedure documents reinforce the University’s commitment to academic freedom.  In accordance with University of Louisiana System Bylaw Ch 3, Section XI, A, the University defines tenure as the following:

Intended to ensure and enhance faculty members’ academic freedom and job effectiveness.

The procedure for termination of a faculty member, as described in Section 3.12 of the UNO Employee Handbook [Page: 47] , explicitly protects academic freedom when discussing cause for terminating tenured faculty:

However, action to discharge, terminate, or demote shall not be arbitrary or capricious, nor shall it infringe upon academic freedom.

While there have been no formal complaints regarding academic freedom issues, a related matter surfaced during the 2013-14 academic year.  The Office of Academic Affairs generated a pilot workload policy and the Faculty Senate referred the issue to the Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics Committee, a standing subcommittee concerned with the academic privileges and responsibilities of all members of the University Committee.  As a result of their work, a Faculty Governance Committee was formed and charged with providing input regarding the workload policy that is currently in place.  Following is related documentation.

Faculty Governance Committee Charge and Membership

Faculty Governance Committee Meeting Minutes

Faculty Workload Policy

Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics Committee Annual Report

 

Supporting Documents

Document Description
Document IconBOR_Academic_Freedom_StatementBOR_Academic_Freedom_Statement
Document IconFaculty_Governance_Committee_Charge_MembershipFaculty Governance Committee Charge and Membership
Document IconFaculty_Governance_Meeting_MinutesFaculty Governance Committee Meeting Minutes
Document IconFaculty_Senate_Committee_Reports_201314UNO Faculty Senate Standing Committee End-of-Year Reports 2013-14
Document IconFaculty_Workload_Policy_201404Faculty Workload Policy
Document IconUL_System_Byalw_Ch_3_I_Academic_Staff_1University of Louisiana System Bylaw - Chapter 3, Section 1A
Document IconUL_System_Chpt_3_XI_TenureUniversity of Louisiana System Bylaw: Ch 3, Section XI, Promotion and Tenure
Document IconUNO_Employee_HandbookUNO Employee Handbook