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SR-45 (2021-2022)

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SR45:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Resolution
No. 45


Introduced by Senator Min

July 14, 2021


Relative to academic freedom.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SR 45, as introduced, Min.

WHEREAS, Freedom of thought and expression are necessary for every higher education institution; and
WHEREAS, “Academic freedom” means the degree to which faculty at an institution are allowed latitude with respect to their discussions with students and the positions they take; and
WHEREAS, Academic freedom is a prerequisite for the free flow of speech, knowledge, and ideas on college campuses; and
WHEREAS, In 1940, the American Association of University Professors issued a statement of principles on academic freedom and tenure; and
WHEREAS, This statement on academic freedom describes college and university faculty as “citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution”; and
WHEREAS, This statement also establishes that when college and university teachers “write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their unique position in the community imposes special obligations”; and
WHEREAS, This statement further declares, “as scholars and educational officers, [college and university teachers] should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they 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 they are not speaking for the institution”; and
WHEREAS, Many colleges and universities are engaged in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, requiring necessary and potentially uncomfortable conversations and dialogue, and faculty across the state are taking the lead in their classrooms; and
WHEREAS, Section 51023 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations states: “the governing board of a community college district shall adopt a policy statement on academic freedom which shall be made available to faculty”; and
WHEREAS, Local academic freedom policies required by Title 5 vary greatly, and the state therefore lacks the uniformity necessary to uphold the principles of academic freedom across all of California’s community colleges; and
WHEREAS, Academic freedom policies are in some but not all collective bargaining agreements, and this creates a lack of uniformity for academic freedom across all of California’s community colleges; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, That the Senate recognizes that academic freedom, as determined by the American Association of University Professors, entitles teachers 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 should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution”; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate recognizes that academic freedom, as determined by the American Association of University Professors, entitles teachers to freedom in the classroom discussing their subject, and states that teachers should not introduce into their teaching matter that has no relation to their subject; and be it further
Resolved, That under such a policy, within their subject discipline, a faculty member can articulate or even advocate positions or concepts that may be controversial in nature without fear of retribution or reprisal; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate declares that academic freedom is a necessary requisite for teaching and learning in California Community Colleges; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges and the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.