Statement on Academic Freedom
The San Mateo County Community College District is dedicated to maintaining a climate of academic freedom encouraging the sharing and cultivation of a wide variety of viewpoints. Academic freedom expresses our belief in inquiry, informed debate and the search for truth; academic freedom is necessary in order to provide students with a variety of ideas, to encourage them to engage in critical thinking and to help them understand conflicting opinions.
Academic freedom encompasses the freedom to study, teach, and express ideas, including unpopular or controversial ones, without censorship or political restraint. Academic freedom, rather than being a license to do or say whatever one wishes, requires professional competence, open inquiry and rigorous attention to the pursuit of truth.
The District’s faculty have the right to express their informed opinions which relate, directly or indirectly, to their professional activities, whether these opinions are expressed in the classroom, elsewhere on campus or at college-related functions. In a search for truth and in a context of reasoned academic debate, students also have the right to express their opinions and to question those presented by others.
Employment by the District does not in any way restrict or limit the First Amendment rights enjoyed by faculty as members of their communities. Faculty members are free to speak and write publicly on any issue, as long as they do not indicate they are speaking for the institution.
Protecting academic freedom is the responsibility of the college community. Therefore, in a climate of openness and mutual respect, free from distortion and doctrinal obligation, the District protects and encourages the exchange of ideas, including unpopular ones, which are presented in a spirit of free and open dialogue and constructive debate.