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JCCC Statement on Academic Freedom

The concept of the modern college rises from the medieval concept of collegium, which roughly translates to “connection of associates or colleagues.” Such connection between academics has become the foundation of institutions such as ours, marking the faculty and the governance thereof the central fact of the existence of any college. Preservation of the autonomy of this association of academics, free from the control of either church or state intervention, has been accepted by society as the cost of colleges acting in their role of furthering knowledge, fostering understanding, and cataloguing and transmitting our history, artistic and professional skills, and philosophical quandaries to each new generation as it seeks its turn at the helm of the great ship of humanity.

Understanding the importance of the role played by the great swell of academics under these circumstances, members of the modern collegium famously committed to a set of principles, proposing that these same would govern themselves and all who would enter the academic echelon, holding each academic personally accountable to a higher standard of conduct within the classrooms wherein they plied their craft. These ideas, collectively known as the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure” form the foundation of the concept loosely termed Academic Freedom. Though these tenets were designed primarily with baccalaureate granting institutions in mind, since the community college has no provision for tenure and none is implied here, where they concern the activity of teaching and learning in the classroom there is absolute synchronicity between these ideals and the academic ideals of Johnson County Community College (JCCC).

In acknowledgement of that synchronicity, the office of the Chief Academic Officer of Johnson County Community College hereby endorses the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom, and will use such as guidance in matters affecting academic branch governance, protection of classroom integrity, and discipline of faculty who fail to act within said tenets.1

1 The exact wording of the three tenets of academic freedom to be deployed are as follows, taken verbatim from the published documents of the AAUP:

  1. Teachers are entitled 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.
  2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
  3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they 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, show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.