As the chancellor of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, I support and am governed by the Constitutional principle of free expression and its protection of both our faculty and our students. This value is shared by the UCCS community and is rooted in the Laws of the Regents and other university policies that define the educational process at the University of Colorado.
The full Regent Law is located at http://www.cu.edu/regents/article-5-faculty.
In particular, I draw attention to the following university tenets as they pertain to the faculty:
- The University of Colorado will promote an atmosphere of free inquiry and discussion. Academic freedom is the freedom to inquire, pursue, discover, publish and teach truth as the faculty member sees it, subject to no control or authority save the control and authority of the rational methods by which truth is established. The Board of Regents has determined that members of the faculty must have complete freedom to study, to learn, to do research, and to communicate the results of these pursuits to others.
- A faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom when determining the content of a course, assigning readings, and framing the topics of discussion. Were it otherwise, a faculty member could not properly discharge his or her obligation to ensure that the course has met its stated educational goals.
As the tenets pertain to students:
- Academic freedom does not vest solely in the faculty. The Laws of the Regents also require that students likewise must have freedom of study and discussion and the right to weigh conflicting opinions and determine for themselves the conclusions they will reach in a particular field. Faculty, within the boundaries of the faculty's ability to determine the subjects that a class explores and to ensure the class meets it stated objectives, should provide students with the environment that can foster the students' intellectual curiosity and pursuits.
As members of this academic community, it is imperative we take seriously our responsibility to protect the university as a forum for the free expression of ideas. It should be our collective understanding that the fullest exposure to conflicting opinions is the best insurance against error.
I have always been and will continue to be committed to the principles of free speech, academic freedom, and respect for diverse viewpoints. Academic discourse can be provocative and challenging, but should occur in an environment of mutual respect.