Faculty Handbook

Academic Freedom


Michigan State University adheres to the principles of academic freedom with correlative responsibilities as stated by the American Association of University Professors, the Association of American Colleges and other organizations:

Teachers1 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. 

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. 

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, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.2 

1The word "teacher" as used in this document is understood to include the investigator who is attached to an academic institution without teaching duties.

2"1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments," AAUP Policy Documents and Reports, 1995.

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