University of Missouri

46-50: A Resolution Encouraging the University of Missouri Board of Curators to Adopt the Academic Bill of Rights

PURPOSE: To encourage the Board of Curators for the University of Missouri system to adopt the Academic Bill of Rights as contained within this resolution.

WHEREAS, Diversity of not only culture but also thought is necessary on a college campus, and

WHEREAS, Members of the student body, faculty, and staff deserve protections for speech and programming which may not always be supported by the administration or all members of the student body, and

WHEREAS, Many college campuses across the nation have experienced events which challenge the right of all members of the student body to hold events that are protected by freedom of speech, and

WHEREAS, Many professors and staff across the nation have been challenged and/or denied hire or tenure on the basis of beliefs which may run counter to those held by the administration, and

WHEREAS, An Academic Bill of Rights would ensure freedoms for all members of the University to conduct courses and events in a manner consistent with the philosophy of a diverse and free environment,

THEREFORE, Be it resolved by the Missouri Students Association Senate that the Missouri Students Association strongly encourages the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri System to adopt the following Academic Bill of Rights:

To secure the intellectual independence of faculty and students and to protect the principle of intellectual diversity, the following principles and procedures shall be observed.

1. All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives. No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.
2. No faculty member will be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.
3. Students will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

4. Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences should reflect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas by providing students with dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate. While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, there should also be an academic environment that welcomes a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions.
5. Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

6. Selection of speakers, allocation of funds for speakers programs and other student activities will observe the principles of academic freedom and promote intellectual pluralism. No speakers will be accepted or denied solely on their religious or political beliefs, but shall be selected based on their ability to contribute dialogue that furthers academic endeavors within the University.
7. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the use of physical obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to physically obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.
8. Knowledge advances when individual scholars are left free to reach their own conclusions about which methods, facts, and theories have been validated by research. Academic institutions and professional societies formed to advance knowledge within an area of research, maintain the integrity of the research process, and organize the professional lives of related researchers serve as indispensable venues within which scholars circulate research findings and debate their interpretation. To perform these functions adequately, academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions within, or outside, their fields of inquiry.

9. All clauses in this Bill of Rights are applicable only when conducting University-conducted activities and functions when not stated otherwise. Activities conducted by student or faculty groups independently of the University are exempt from any clauses contained in this Bill of Rights.

Upon passage of this resolution, the Clerk of the Senate is instructed to forward a copy of this resolution to the Board of Curators for the University of Missouri system.

Respectfully Submitted,

Nick Haynes Philip Kelchen
Senator, Academic Affairs Senator, Academic Affairs

Rachel Anderson Jim Kelley
MSA President Chair, Academic Affairs

Eric Schneider Trevor Flannigan
Senator, Academic Affairs Senator, Academic Affairs

Garret Schmidt
Senator, Academic Affairs