The following statement on academic freedom was formulated by a joint task force of the faculty’s Educational Policies Committee and the Faculty Council and endorsed by the president and the academic administration in 2007:
Lindenwood University is committed to the idea that universities are centers of intellectual growth, exploration, creativity, and expression. It is incumbent upon the university, therefore, to create an atmosphere that is conducive to open, critical thinking. Central to that duty is the freedom to formulate and express ideas that advance the process of intellectual inquiry and education. Therefore, freedom of thought and word within the confines of higher education is central to effective education of the whole person.
Academic freedom also carries profound responsibilities. The university itself must take all precautions to protect the ability of faculty to express ideas and teach concepts that are germane to their respective subjects in research and publication as well as the classroom; the ability to do so without interference must remain unfettered. Some subjects of intellectual inquiry cause discomfort to some or all students and faculty members, yet failure to explore those topics would be to deny our responsibility as educators. Rather, the open exchange of ideas between faculty and students must be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual civility, respect, and attention toward the greater good of the university and its members.
Faculty members should neither be censored for expression of their views nor engage in self-censorship out of fear of recrimination; similarly, students should know that they have the right to express their views as well but will be held to the same standard of defense of those views. Academic freedom in no way implies a tolerance of disrespect, of bigotry, or of discrimination regarding age, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender, nor should the academic freedom of one person interfere with the freedom of another.
Academic freedom also includes the right to freedom in research and publication. Faculty members are free to select topics, obtain data, and report findings in a manner that is scientifically and academically sound in one’s field without censorship. Work that produces monetary gains will be based on standard practices and shall not be linked to nature of the research.
The freedom to associate, to speak, and to write are central to the republic itself. Therefore, it shall be the policy and practice of the university to permit a faculty member’s exercise of the basic right of freedom of speech when outside the university itself and to be involved in community activities.
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