Title: Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities
Policy Number: 03.70.02
Effective Date: August 1, 2006
Issuing Authority: Board of Trustees
As an academic institution, Temple University exists for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.
Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. The University and the faculty have a responsibility to provide students with opportunities and protections that promote the learning process in all its aspects. Students similarly should exercise their freedom with responsibility.
[It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. The faculty member is expected to train students to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials, which they need if they are to think intelligently. Hence, in giving instruction upon controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without super-cession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators.]
Temple University therefore reaffirms its commitment to academic freedom, and adopts the following statement of academic freedom principles applicable to faculty and students:
Statement of Principles
1 Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial (or other) matter which has no relation to their subject. The faculty member is responsible, however, for maintaining academic standards in the presentation of course materials.
2. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for the truth.
3. Faculty members in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.
4. Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the information or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but students are responsible for learning the content of the course of study in which they are enrolled. The validity of academic ideas, theories, arguments and views should be measured against the relevant academic standards.
5. Students should have protection through orderly grievance procedures against prejudiced or capricious evaluations that are not intellectually relevant to the subject matter under consideration. At the same time, students are responsible for complying with the standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
Student Grievance Procedure
Except in cases in which a student challenges a grade received in connection with a course, the following procedures shall apply when a student believes that a faculty member has infringed upon the student’s academic rights as set forth in this policy. In cases in which the student is challenging a grade in connection with a course, the student shall follow the grade appeal procedure applicable to the school or college in which the course is offered.
1. If a student grievance for an alleged violation of academic rights cannot be resolved between the faculty member and the student, or if the student does not feel comfortable in discussing the matter directly with the faculty member, the student may bring an informal complaint to the Student Ombudsperson of the school or college to try to effect an informal resolution.
2. If a resolution satisfactory to the student is not obtained through an informal mediation process with the Student Ombudsperson, the student may submit a formal, written grievance to the Dean or the Dean’s designee.
3. The Dean or the Dean’s designee may attempt informal resolution through discussion with the student and faculty member. If a mutually agreeable resolution is not achieved through informal discussion, the Dean shall refer the matter for consideration in accordance with the procedures for resolution of student grievances as set forth in the Bylaws of the school or college.
4. The Dean will consider the recommendation of the school or college’s student grievance committee and issue a written decision and remedy. Appropriate precautions should be developed to safeguard the confidentiality of the grievance proceedings, including information about the outcome.
5. Either party to a grievance may appeal the decision of the Dean to the Provost, in writing, within ten (10) days following notice of the Dean’s decision. A written reply by the other party must be filed within ten (10) days after receipt of the appeal. The Dean’s decision shall be held in abeyance pending appeal. The Provost has discretion to determine the information and procedure that he/she will utilize in deciding each appeal. The decision of the Provost shall be in writing and shall be final.
Recordkeeping and Reporting
The officers should develop mechanisms and procedures for developing and maintaining records in a confidential manner of all grievances brought pursuant to this policy. In addition, the officers shall provide a report on all grievances pursuant to this policy each semester to the Chairs of the Student Affairs and the Academic Affairs Committees of the
Board of Trustees, and establish a mechanism for annual reviews of this policy and its effectiveness by appropriate University officials and the Board of Trustees.
This policy shall become effective on August 1, 2006.
 The passage in brackets is taken from Penn State Policy HR 64 on Academic Freedom and was originally included in the Temple policy, but was excised before its adoption. We ask that it be included in subsequent versions of this policy to be adopted by other universities.