Section 3: Academic Freedom

Centenary College has a strong tradition of intellectual freedom. It subscribes to the following view of the United Methodist Church: "Our role is not to suppress ideas, but to open channels of communication, so that people can come to know the thoughts of their neighbors, and so that the best thoughts of all men and women can come to be the possessions of everyone." (General Conference, 1952). Centenary finds this view consistent with the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, which states, in part, that

Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. 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.

Tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically: 1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and 2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability. Freedom and economic security, hence, tenure, are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.

Centenary faculty should be cognizant of these principles, which emphasize both the freedom and responsibility of faculty members, both tenured and non-tenured, and incorporate them into their teaching.

Academic freedom cases arise when faculty members allege that an employee of Centenary College or a member of the Board of Trustees has acted to infringe upon their freedom of teaching, research, writing or extramural activities. In an allegation of violation of academic freedom, there must be a specific and clear connection between an infringement of academic freedom in teaching, research, writing or an extramural activity and the behavior of a person or persons acting in official capacity as an employee of Centenary College or a member of the Board of Trustees. In cases of denial of tenure or reappointment, an allegation of procedural error or other failure to apply appropriate criteria fairly will not in itself be the basis for an academic freedom complaint.

Faculty members who believe their academic freedom has been violated should immediately consult confidentially in written form with the Chairperson of the Faculty Appeals Committee and the Chairperson of the Faculty Coordinating Council, who will review the evidence for the alleged violation and follow the procedure established in Section 13 of the Faculty Handbook. (5/2007)

Updated May 9, 2007.

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