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FAQs: UC Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom

By News and Media Relations on March 28, 2019 in University
  • What is the University’s commitment to Freedom of Expression?
  • The University of California, Davis, is committed to ensuring that all persons may exercise their constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, assembly and worship, even in instances in which the positions expressed may be viewed by some as controversial or unpopular. (UC Davis Policy and Procedure Manual, Chapter 400, Section 01, Freedom of Expression)
  • Do faculty have a right to Freedom of Expression?
  • Members of the faculty are entitled as University employees to the full protections of the Constitution of the United States and of the Constitution of the State of California. These protections are in addition to whatever rights, privileges and responsibilities attach to the academic freedom of university faculty. (University of California Academic Personnel Manual [APM] Section 010, Academic Freedom)
  • What is the University’s commitment to Academic Freedom?
  • The University of California is committed to upholding and preserving principles of academic freedom. These principles reflect the University’s fundamental mission, which is to discover knowledge and to disseminate it to its students and to society at large. The principles of academic freedom protect freedom of inquiry and research, freedom of teaching, and freedom of expression and publication. These freedoms enable the University to advance knowledge and to transmit it effectively to its students and to the public. (APM Section 010, Academic Freedom)
  • What does Academic Freedom mean for faculty?
  • Academic freedom requires that teaching and scholarship be assessed by reference to the professional standards that sustain the University’s pursuit and achievement of knowledge. The substance and nature of these standards properly lie within the expertise and authority of the faculty as a body. (APM Section 010, Academic Freedom)

    Academic freedom requires that the Academic Senate be given primary responsibility for applying academic standards, subject to appropriate review by the Administration, and that the Academic Senate exercise its responsibility in full compliance with applicable standards of professional care. (APM Section 010, Academic Freedom)
  • What is the role of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CAFR)?
  • The Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility studies conditions within or outside of the University, which in the judgment of the committee may affect the academic freedom of the University or its individual members.
  • Are there limits to the Academic Freedom of faculty?
  • The exercise of academic freedom entails correlative duties of professional care when teaching, conducting research or otherwise acting as a member of the faculty. (APM Section 010, Academic Freedom) These duties are set forth in the Faculty Code of Conduct (APM Section 015).
  • How does the university become aware of possible violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct?
  • Any member of the university community — faculty, staff or student — can file a complaint alleging that a faculty member has violated the Faculty Code of Conduct. UC Davis has specific procedures for the review of complaints of faculty misconduct consistent with university-wide policies and bylaws. The procedure for this process is described in UC Davis Academic Personnel Manual, Section 015. The status of complaints lodged against faculty members are confidential personnel matters.
  • What policy sets forth the professional rights and responsibilities of faculty?   
  • The professional rights and responsibilities of faculty can be found in the Faculty Code of Conduct (APM Section 015).

Media contact(s)

Melissa Blouin, 530-752-2542, cell 530-564-2698,