Resolution on Private Donors’ Respect for Academic Freedom

AS-2936-10/FA (Rev)

ATTACHMENT 1 TO AS-2936-10/FA (Rev)
ATTACHMENT 2 TO AS-2936-10/FA (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) strongly reaffirm its commitment to academic freedom of the faculty and “the protection of freedom of inquiry, research, expression and teaching both inside and beyond the classroom” (AS-2675-04/FA - November 11-12, 2004); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU reaffirm that decisions affecting the curriculum and the selection of the faculty for academic programs are under the purview of campus faculty (AS-2822-07/FA); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU deplore attempts by private donors to pressure local administrations to intervene in faculty’s academic decisions and activities inside and beyond the classroom based upon donors’ political and economic views and interests; and be it further

RESOLVED: That ASCSU request that the Office of the Chancellor and campus administrations craft disclaimers to inform donors and university personnel with whom they deal that donors’ financial support of the academic enterprise does not convey a right to inject personal or political beliefs to influence the academic content delivered; and be it further,

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the Board of Trustees, Campus Presidents, Vice Presidents for Advancement and Public Affairs, and Campus Senate Chairs.

RATIONALE: Seeking private funding has become an important way of supplementing the dwindling state support for the higher education. Some of the non-academic organizations which donate to CSU programs are not familiar with, nor respectful of, the principle of academic freedom as the cornerstone of the university life. Recent CSU-based examples of donors potentially attempting to exert pressure to influence invitations to controversial speakers and to affect curricular decisions (Los Angeles Times, October 14, 2009:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/10/california-agribusiness-pressuresschool-to-nix-michael-pollan-speech.html; and San Louis Obispo Tribune, January 10, 2010: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/01/09/983620/meat-firmsmultiple-beefs-with.html ). In the absence of clear guidelines for the advancement staff to firmly communicate with the donors the principle of non-intervention in faculty’s educational decisions, we will run the risk of outside pressure on our faculty to change the content of their educational programs inside and beyond the classroom.

Approved Without Dissent – March 10-11, 2010

 


 
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