UT Dallas Policy Navigator :: Academic Freedom :: UTDPP1121 (v1)

Academic Freedom - UTDPP1121

Policy Statement

The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is committed to upholding and preserving academic freedom and the tenets of free, open inquiry and expression that underlie it. Academic freedom protects intellectual integrity and encourages open discourse, inquiry, debate, and respect, and is integral to the pursuit of knowledge. UT Dallas is determined to protect academic freedom by fostering a community in which scholarship, research, and free expression thrive.

In accordance with the Association of University Professors' 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, UT Dallas recognizes academic freedom as the freedom to conduct the fundamental activities of a community of scholars and students: the freedom to learn, the freedom to teach, and the freedom to develop and share knowledge with the community - all without fear of censorship or retaliation. Reasoned arguments for or against any idea - even if controversial or offensive - are critical to this process as "controversy is at the heart of the free academic enquiry" (AAUP 1940 Statement). UT Dallas concurs with the AAUP 1940 Statement that "the common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition."

No UT Dallas policy or procedure shall infringe on academic freedom, due process, or other protected rights. UT Dallas' network of academic governance committees work together to ensure the University has procedures to safeguard academic freedom. Faculty who believe their academic freedom has been infringed upon can discuss the matter with the Committee on Faculty Standing and Conduct. Faculty also have recourse to the Faculty Grievance Procedure UTDPP 1050.

The following section from UT System Board of Regents' Rule 31004 upholds the rights outlined by the American Association of University Professors and the University.

"Section 1 Freedom in Research. Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results.

Section 2 Freedom in the Classroom. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his or her subject but are expected not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to his or her subject.

Section 3 Clarification of Role. Faculty members are citizens, members of learned professions, and officers of an educational institution supported by the State of Texas. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, he or she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline but should make it plain that the faculty member is not an institutional spokesperson.

Section 4 Primary Duties. The primary duties of a member of the faculty are to:

  • 4.1 Teaching. Teach in the classroom, laboratory, seminar, or clinical setting.
  • 4.2 Research. Study, investigate, discover, create, and develop professionally.
  • 4.3 Administration. Perform curricular tasks auxiliary to teaching and research, e.g., serving on faculty committees, attending to administrative and disciplinary tasks, fostering intellectual curiosity and integrity in the student body.
  • 4.4 Contribution to Society. Use their professional expertise to benefit society."

Faculty--and all members of the UT Dallas community tasked with faculty duties--are free to express their opinions and use their professional expertise to carry out their teaching, research, administrative responsibilities and external academic activities. Limitations on academic freedom undermine the greater purpose of institutions of higher education, to the detriment of the common good.

Academic freedom does not grant the right to violate UT Dallas policies including, but not limited to, UTDPP1100 (Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment) and UTDPP1101 (Outside Activity Policy for All Employees, Excluding Executive Officers and Employees Involved in Procurement Activities or Contract Management).

Related Policies

Regents' Rule 31004 - Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty Members
Regents' Rule 30104 - Conflicts of Interest, Conflict of Commitment, and Outside Activities
UTDPP1100 - Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment
UTDPP1101 - Outside Activity Policy: Executive Officers and Employees Involved in Procurement Activities or Contract Management
UTDPP1102 - Outside Activity Policy for All Employees, Excluding Executive Officers and Employees Involved in Procurement Activities or Contract Management
UTDPP1027 - Committee on Faculty Standing and Conduct

Policy History

  • Issued: 2023-02-06