Ongoing External Efforts to Shape Curricula in Institutions of Learning

AS-2722-05/FA - November 3-4, 2005

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) strongly reassert the principles of academic freedom as contained in the 1940 American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure including the 1970 Interpretive Comments; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU affirm that these principles both underlie and reflect the fundamental mission of the University to discover and disseminate knowledge; and be it further

RESOLVED: That such a mission demands that a scholar have primary responsibility for determining what is appropriate for instruction, publication, and other dissemination, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU reaffirm that faculty have primary responsibility for determining the content and a ppropriateness of the curriculum and what is to be taught in the university classrooms, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU object to and deplore recent actions and attempts by legislative and/or citizens' groups to impose their standards on and to change or insert content into curricula; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU object to and deplore recent actions and attempts by publishers and other external constituencies to unilaterally change or insert content into published materials that is contrary to the intent of the author; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU send this resolution to each member of the Board of Trustees of the CSU.

RATIONALE: Strict adherence to the principles of academic freedom and to the roles and responsibilities of faculty, in particular those in post-secondary institutions, is critical to ensure the integrity of higher education's contribution to the common good. Basic academic freedom includes the opportunity to research and publish, the freedom to teach and the freedom to communicate extramurally without constrains other than those defining the highest scholarly standard of an academic discipline.

While this issue is certainly not new to the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU), as most recently affirmed by AS-2675-04/FA and AS-2649-04/FA, current events across the nation necessitate, once again, a re-affirmation of the principle that faculty determine curricular content. Such recent events include, but are not limited to: the ideological pressuring of Glencoe/McGraw Hill Publishers by the Texas State Board of Education to change language in their health texts from "married partners" to "husband and wife;" the vote by the Pennsylvania school board to require high school biology classes to hear about "alternatives" to evolution, including the theory referred to as "intelligent design," currently being heard in the United States District Court (Kitzmiller et al. Dover Areas School District); and the cancellation of a publication by Haworth Press of the book Same Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West due to the "controversial" scholarly input of one author (San Francisco Chronicle 09/26/2005). The potential for similar efforts in post-secondary institutions is very great, as evidenced by sustained efforts in various states, and now in the U.S. Congress, to pass an "Academic Bill of Rights." Such external attempts, if successful, usurp the right of faculty to ascertain the content and presentation of classroom materials and circumvent academic governance processes by which curricular decisions are normally made.

APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY - January 26-27, 2006


 
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