Free Expression and Academic Freedom

The San Diego Community College District is committed to an academic environment that embraces the principals of academic freedom and freedom of expression. This commitment is based upon the value that free expression is essential to excellence in teaching, learning, critical inquiry and service to the community. 

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression affords the faculty, staff and students the right to speak and write freely in accordance with the constitutional protections of free speech.

The rights & Responsibilities of the College Community

Faculty, staff and students balance the rights and responsibilities of freedom of expression, as follows:

  • The District shall protect the rights of faculty to express their views in the classroom that pertain to class content. While it is understood that controversy is often at the core of inquiry, such controversy should be addressed in a mutually respectful manner.

  • The District shall protect the rights of faculty, staff and students to speak freely on matters of public concern.

  • Faculty, staff and students are free to explore a wide range of views and judge on matters of public concern.

  • As outlined in District policies and procedures, faculty, staff and students have responsibilities which are based upon principles of fairness, integrity, confidentiality, safety, professionalism, and respect for others.

  • Members of the academic community have the right to participate in governance and to join or form organizations without fear of retaliation.

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom affords the faculty the right to speak freely and write, without unreasonable restrictions or prejudices.

The Rights of Faculty

Consistent with academic freedom, faculty have the following fundamental rights:

  • Collective primacy in designing and approving curriculum and instructional methods; 

  • Individual faculty determination of instructional materials, course content, and student evaluation methods, in concert with colleagues, so as to assure coherence in instruction and the maintenance of academic standards; 

  • Individual faculty freedom to discuss subject matter of the course, as appropriate to the standards of the discipline and academic community, even when that material is controversial; 

  • Individual faculty authority to evaluate enrolled students on the basis of the academic merit of the student’s performance; 

  • Individual faculty choice of research topics and methods of investigation--subject to professional and peer-determined standards--as well as unconditional freedom to publish results; and 

  • Faculty participation in shared governance, curriculum review, and accreditation processes.