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Academic Freedom

This guide is designed to provide basic information about the concept of Academic Freedom and resources for further information.

Policies (Search tip)

The best strategy for locating policies of various universities is to search either the website of a particular school or a general internet search for the phrase "academic freedom" (with quotation marks) and the word policy or policies.   These concepts are often articulated in a variety of documents across universities so, a broad search is a good place to start.

San Diego State University Policies & Statement


In the University Policy File AY 2022-2023, page 141, SDSU expresses its commitment to Academic Freedom.

Academic Freedom

      San Diego State University is committed to academic freedom as a core value that underlies its mission of teaching,
scholarship and creative activity, and service to the public, our University, and the larger scholarly community. Academic
freedom, whether reflected in formal research and publication, teaching, creative activity, or in the exploration of new
ideas, benefits the campus community and the world at large and should be defended by faculty, instructional staff, and
      San Diego State University recognizes that the faculty, working within a system of shared governance, possesses the
unique ability to apply professional judgments about the quality of the various kinds of scholarship and teaching
undertaken by colleagues. In making these judgments, the faculty relies on a variety of review systems, such as department
reviews, editorial boards of scholarly journals, panels constituted to review proposals for funded research, periodic
reviews, and student evaluations of teaching.
      San Diego State University also seeks to develop in its students a sense of thoughtful independence. To do so, we
recognize that students, faculty, and instructional staff must be free within the classroom and through scholarly research,
creative activity, and community service to explore the widest possible range of viewpoints. However, San Diego State
University also endorses the following portion of the American Council on Education’s Statement on Academic Rights and
Responsibilities: “The validity of academic ideas, theories, arguments and views should be measured against the
intellectual standards of relevant academic and professional disciplines. Application of these intellectual standards does not
mean that all ideas have equal merit. The responsibility to judge the merit of competing academic ideas rests with colleges
and universities and is determined by reference to the standards of the academic profession.”
      The development of the sort of thoughtful intelligence that facilitates the generation of new knowledge carries with it a set
of responsibilities that apply to faculty, instructional staff, and students alike. These responsibilities are based on shared
values such as integrity, fairness, professional and social responsibility, equality of opportunity, confidentiality, honesty and
openness, respect for self and others, and freedom and safety. The professional responsibilities of the faculty, instructional
staff and the students in carrying out this ideal, as well as procedures to seek redress of grievances, are set forth elsewhere
in the University Policy File.
      The Senate resolves and reaffirms that SDSU's commitment to the protection of academic freedom, recognizes that
academic freedom extends to faculty participation in institutional governance, including faculty statements on university
operation and administration; and that the rights and protections of the SDSU Academic Freedom Policy include faculty
scholarship, teaching, creative activity, speech and service that faculty engage in while employed at SDSU; and that these
protected activities are not subject to "employee-speech" limitations, restrictions and/or sanctions.