||Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom
The Committee of Counsel on Academic
Freedom and Responsibility (CCAFR) has been involved with the following
items of business over the year 2001-2002.
Finishing up the work of last year's committee, chaired by
Alan Cline, Professor Cline and the current committee completed work
with the administration to have a reasonable document for faculty
to read regarding the compliance established by the Board of Regents.
A two-page document was the result, and we thank the provost and administration
for supporting our concerns on this matter. The compliance officer
continues to phrase our obligations as completing "training"
or "modules." We want to emphasize that this means for faculty
that faculty should read this two-page document and indicate having
read it. About one-third of the faculty has done this; this is an
easy task, and the committee encourages faculty to take care of this
Resolution on Speech Rights and Responsibilities
Following the events of September 11, 2001, CCAFR placed
the following resolution before the Faculty Council, which the Council
||That all members of the University community—students,
faculty, staff, and administrators—be reminded of the
principles involving academic freedom and responsibility as
stated by the American Association of University Professors
in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and
||"The common good depends upon the
free search for truth and its free exposition."
||"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."
||That these principles of academic freedom and
responsibility be widely disseminated to the University community
via email and in the Daily Texan so that all students, faculty,
staff, and administrators have these statements as guiding principles
for discourse on campus and extramurally.
|| That the members of the academic community
treat one another with dignity in both their words and actions
during the days ahead.
In the fall, the committee sends out a letter reminding faculty and
administrators about the post-tenure review process and procedures.
We also monitor the results. After three years, the committee has
not observed any data regarding satisfactory or unsatisfactory post-tenure
review reports that causes us concern. 595 faculty have been reviewed;
2% (twelve faculty) did not receive a favorable review. In addition,
some individuals due to be reviewed have resigned or retired, but
those numbers (about 25) also are not out of line with expectations.
We have been notified of more local omissions or additions to the
post-tenure process—not showing a review to the faculty person
before forwarding it to the dean; a dean requesting information in
a particular way. No report so far concerns us deeply, but we will
remind everyone of the process again next fall in our annual letter.
Voting Rights for Probationary Faculty
The administration is proposing to begin selectively hiring individuals
at the rank of associate or full professor but with their tenure to
be determined within several years of their appointment. Of concern
is whether the individual will be able to publish in academic venues
and their teaching is strong. The question of what the voting rights
of the faculty should be has been discussed. I am happy to report
that the recommendations of the Faculty Council Executive Committee
and the CCAFR were followed. These faculty will have full voting rights,
except in the cases of salaries and promotion and tenure, in which
situations they will have the voting rights of assistant professors,
who are also probationary faculty.
Mid-Probationary Review Policy
On March 8, 2000, the committee proposed a mid-probationary review
policy that the Faculty Council passed. The legislation included nine
features that it based on recommendations from the System's Committee
on the Status of Women and Minorities. These included opportunities
for the individual being reviewed to respond to the review prior to
its final draft and to meet with the chair and a member of the review
committee as part of the process. At this point, this legislation
is still in progress. The provost has declared that "most colleges
are in compliance with the proposed legislation" and that his
office would work to bring all of them into "accord with current
While several of the colleges and schools are establishing individual
policies, the committee notes that none of the policies established
so far have all of the minimal features in the proposed legislation.
Additionally, the committee is asking why the administration desires
to have individual school and college policies rather than a uniform,
easily accessed through the HOP, minimal best-practices policy. We
are working on this with the administration.
Administrative Investigations and Due Process
The committee is concerned about some administrative investigations
of faculty actions which may not insure that faculty's academic freedom
and free speech rights are adequately protected and that due process
is observed during an investigation. The sorts of investigations CCAFR
is thinking about are those involved with sexual harassment or racial
(or other) discrimination. We have discussed this with the provost,
and he supports constructing such safeguards for due process. A subcommittee
of the committee has been formed and hopes to have a draft written
over the summer for Faculty Council approval in early fall 2002.
Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy
In January 2002, CCAFR was asked to consider a very small portion
of the University's Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy that requires
faculty to report promptly student reports of sexual harassment and
misconduct to the Office of the Dean of Students. The concern was
that this requirement would have a potential chilling effect on student-faculty
conversations. The chair of CCAFR met with administrators, members
of the Steering Committee of the Center for Women's Studies, and Zipporah
Wiseman (law school faculty member). The recommendation
from these discussions is that faculty be excluded from the clause
requiring prompt reporting of such reports to the Office of the Dean
of Students. This recommendation will be put before the Faculty Council
as well as potential other recommendations regarding insuring that
all faculty are well aware of the sexual harassment and misconduct
and the consensual relation policies.
This document was posted on the Faculty Council Web site, www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/
on July 29, 2002. Paper copies are available on request from the Office
of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.