Dutchess Community College Stands Up

Dutchess Community College Stands up for Academic Freedom

More on the subject from a different state (this thing is spreading like the Black Plague).

“Professional Staff Organization
Dutchess Community College
24 March 2005

In response to the “Academic Bill of Rights” (ABOR), currently under consideration by SUNY administration, the Professional Staff Organization (PSO) of Dutchess Community College (DCC) hereby ASSERTS:

that DCC has already stated its commitment to academic freedom in clear and unambiguous terms;

that the ABOR, which purports to promote intellectual diversity, actually threatens the tradition of academic freedom at DCC;

that the ABOR’s implication that knowledge is “unsettled” in most academic disciplines except for the sciences is dubious, at best;

that the ABOR distorts the principle of academic freedom by erroneously extending all of its protections to students;

that DCC students are already protected from racial, religious, and sex discrimination under applicable federal and state law;

that in addition to these legal safeguards, DCC students enjoy other rights and privileges pursuant to the policies of the College, including a grade appeal procedure;

that by setting narrow limitations on what teachers may consider when grading student work, the ABOR makes it harder for teachers to maintain academic standards;

that the vagueness of ABOR’s language appears to invite the imposition of outside political pressures on teachers;

that the ABOR would subject many of the College’s activities—including the selection of public speakers, formation of curricula, and hiring and promotion of employees—to external, non-academic standards;

that the intent of the ABOR appears to be to expose faculty and staff to civil action from those who claim to be victims of discrimination because of their “political beliefs”; and finally,

that the combined threat of lawsuits and external political pressure will have a chilling effect on the presentation of controversial topics in DCC classrooms.

Therefore, it is RESOLVED:

that the PSO rejects the proposed “Academic Bill of Rights” and urges SUNY to do the same; and

that the PSO remains unwaveringly committed to the principle of academic freedom, as defined in its public documents. “