Updated : 19-Aug-2013

Academic Freedom

Essential to the purpose of a university is the free and unhampered pursuit and communication of knowledge and truth. All members of the University, especially students and faculty members, have not only the right but also the duty to participate in this task of freely seeking after and sharing truth. Every student and every faculty member, therefore, has the freedoms of thought, of discussion, and of action that are required by the common pursuit of truth. Teachers are encouraged to utilize their individual pedagogical strengths and are free to adapt their methods to the conditions under which they work, to the nature of the subject matter with which they are dealing, and to the talents, character, and maturity of their students.

The search for knowledge is an effort to achieve truth. For this reason, all scholars are welcomed within the University, without the imposition of any personal religious requirement. In a Catholic university the different ways that have been developed for searching for knowledge are recognized in their diversity. The path of scientific experimentation and discovery, the path of philosophical analysis, the path of experience and humanistic insight, and the path of Christian scripture and Judeo-Christian tradition are all taken together as yielding to men and women a knowledge of themselves and of the world.

In their teaching, research, and other academic activities, faculty members should be guided by the search for knowledge and truth, not by benefactors, public opinion, partisan political activity, or any interest group. It is the right of every faculty member of the University to be protected by the University from all inappropriate pressure and harassment related to legitimate academic pursuits.

Faculty members should also be involved in the search for knowledge and truth while fulfilling their course assignments. The specific material covered in a course is not to be determined for them by the opinion of administrators, trustees, fellow faculty members, or students, as long as it is appropriate to the course objectives, descriptions, and/or syllabi adopted by the Madrid Campus academic unit, Department, School, or College and as long as it adequately prepares students for subsequent courses. Faculty members can and should present to students accepted as well as newly discovered facts and laws, new developments or new applications of old knowledge, and accepted as well as new hypotheses and theories that may be advanced in explanation of facts and laws.

Because the central freedom of an individual in the University lies within the framework of human activity and human life, it is subject also to limitations and norms: (i) Teaching, student advising, research and scholarly activity, and service to the University and community must be carried on within the framework of legal norms, clearly established written policies and procedures of the University, and the ethical requirements of the respective disciplines and professions, and with appropriate respect for Christian scripture and Judeo-Christian tradition. (ii) While faculty members are expected to challenge students to reexamine their beliefs and opinions, they are also expected to respect the rights of students. Faculty members must not use their positions to force upon students their own personal views and partisan loyalties. (iii) All persons joining the faculty of the University are expected to understand and respect the fact that they are coming into an institution in which Christian scripture and Judeo-Christian tradition are recognized as sources of knowledge as valid as natural human experience or reason, and where theology is recognized as a discipline. This expectation, of course, does not prevent them from stating and explaining their own personal views.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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