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AP 1-40 Academic Freedom

Arapahoe Community College

Series 1 - Doctrine
AP 1-40 Academic Freedom

Originated: January 1993

Revised: July 2016

Effective: January 1993; July 2016

References: BP 3-20


Diana M. Doyle, Ph.D.
President, Arapahoe Community College


This procedure describes the principles of academic freedom at Arapahoe Community College (the College).

This Procedure contains pertinent information affecting employees and students, current through the date of its issuance. To the extent that any provision of this Procedure is inconsistent with State or Federal law, State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education Policies (BPs) or Colorado Community College System President’s Procedures (SPs), the law, BPs and SPs shall supersede and control. BPs and SPs are subject to change throughout the year and are effective immediately upon adoption by the Board or System President, respectively. Employees and students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the BPs, SPs as well as College directives, including but not limited to this Procedure.

Nothing in this Procedure is intended to create (nor shall be construed as creating) an express or implied contract or to guarantee employment for any term. The College reserves the right to modify, change, delete or add to this Procedure as it deems appropriate.


This procedure applies to employees and students.


  1. Institutional Freedom and Responsibility
    1. By academic tradition and by philosophical principle, the College is committed to the pursuit of truth and to its communication to others. To carry out this essential commitment calls for institutional integrity in the way the College manages its affairs--specifies its goals, selects and retains its faculty, admits students, establishes curricula, fixes its fields of services.
    2. The maintenance and exercise of such institutional integrity postulates and requires appropriate autonomy and freedom. Put positively, this is the freedom to examine data, to question assumptions, to be guided by evidence, to teach what one knows--to be a learner and a scholar. Put negatively, this is a freedom from unwarranted harassment, which hinders or prevents the institution from getting on with its essential work.
    3. The College must be managed well and remain solvent, but it is not a business or an industry. It must be concerned with the needs of its community and state and country, but as an institution of higher learning, it is not a political party nor a religion nor a church. Those within it have as a first concern evidence and truth rather than particular judgments of institutional benefactors, concerns of churchmen, public opinion, social pressure, or political proscription.
    4. Relating to this general concern and corresponding to the intellectual and academic freedom are correlative responsibilities. On the part of board members and administrators there is the obligation to protect faculty and students from inappropriate pressures or destructive harassments.
  2. Faculty and Instructor Freedom and Responsibility
    1. The faculty and instructors at this institution are seen as citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of this educational institution. When they speak or write as a citizen, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline; however, as a person of learning and an educational officer, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times make every effort to indicate that they are not institutional spokespersons, unless they are appearing under the auspices of the administration.
    2. The faculty and instructor are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should attempt to avoid introducing into their teaching material which has no relation to their subject.
    3. The faculty and instructor have the obligation to distinguish personal conviction from proven conclusion, and to present relevant data fairly to students because this same freedom asserts their rights to know facts.
    4. In the classroom and in conference, the faculty and instructor should encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. Students should be evaluated solely on the basis of their academic performance, not on their opinions or conduct in matters related to academic standards.
    5. The faculty is 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, outside his/her normal routine, should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  3. Student Freedom and Responsibility
    1. Arapahoe Community College students are responsible for learning thoroughly the content of any course of study, but they should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered, and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.
    2. Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established by their faculty and instructors, but they should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. Students should also be informed that their actions and speech are in many instances reflections of their institutions.
    3. They have an obligation to sift and to question, to be actively involved in the life of the institution; involved as learners at appropriate levels. The determination and exercise of proper responsibilities will be related to the students' status.
    4. Personal or scholastic information about students which faculty and instructors acquire in the course of their work should be considered confidential.
    5. The College believes that for its students to develop their full academic and social potentiality, it is essential that they have the right to meet, to discuss, and to inquire, within a context of democratic citizenship and respect for the rights of others. Students may therefore assembly and hold meetings on campus, provided that (1) such activities do not interfere with the ongoing curricular or co-curricular program, or rights of others not participating; (2) they are conducted during the hours when the College is normally in operation; (3) there is reasonable consideration for fair play, good taste, law and order, both by speakers and audience.
    6. The College expects its students to refrain from conduct disruptive of the College's function; from injury to persons or damage to property on campus; and from impending freedom of movement of students, school officials, employees and invited guests to all facilities of the College. Should students feel they have grievances, the College expects them to seek redress through the student grievance procedure.
  4. Guest and Speaker Responsibility and Freedom
    1. The College grants to the individual faculty member the right to invite anyone s/he chooses as an occasional guest or guest speaker to their classes. The right carries with it the assumption of individual responsibility, as outlined in item 2.
    2. Any faculty or recognized student group may invite to the campus any speaker the group may wish to hear. However, the appearance of any invited speaker on the campus does not involve an endorsement, either implicit or explicit, of his/her views by the College, its Faculty, its Administration, or its College Advisory Council.
    3. Speakers are subject to the normal considerations for law and order and to the specific limitations imposed by the State constitution and statutory law. It is the responsibility of the College President to act in the best interests of the institution, and s/he may require that a meeting at which an outside speaker appears be chaired by a member of the faculty. This chairperson is authorized to adjourn any such meeting if lack of order and proper restraint creates an emergency, which destroys the conditions of free speech and inquiry, and violates the conditions enumerated above.
    4. The College assumes no obligation to provide an audience for outside speakers on its campus. All invitations and engagements of outside speakers must be initiated from within the college community.
  5. Library Freedom and Responsibility

    In the selection of library materials, it is the responsibility of the College and its staff to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing book and other publications that, within the scope of the College's educational mission, will enrich the quality of thought and expression; and to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority. The College does not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books made available. It would conflict with the best interest of the student body for the institution or any member of its staff to establish their own political, moral or esthetic views as the sole standard for deciding which books should be purchased or circulated. Similarly, the institution and its staff, as guardians of its students' freedom to read, will contest encroachment upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes.