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Faculty Personnel Policies
B12 Policy on Academic Freedom
Effective liberal learning is dependent upon an environment of free inquiry in which human knowledge, achievements, culture, and even aspirations can be subjected to searching scrutiny. Hope College, on the premise that only God possesses the undivided truth and that all human apprehensions and expressions of truth are partial and relative, affirms the right, in an education that is both Christian and liberal, to criticize and construct without restraint within the canons of scholarship and of the Judeo‑Christian ethic. It denies that the popularity of an idea affirms its truth and that an idea which is unpopular is for that reason suspect. It claims for its students and faculty the right to criticize, examine, hold, express, controvert, and create within that tradition of learning which is both Christian and liberal.
In general support of these beliefs Hope College entitles the members of its faculty to academic freedom as defined in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure formulated by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors, as follows:
The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, but should be careful not to introduce controversial matter which has no relation to the subject.
The college teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When speaking or writing as a citizen, s/he should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an educational officer, s/he should remember that the public may judge the profession and the institution by his/her utterances. Hence, s/he should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that s/he is not an institutional spokesperson.
Since immunity from undue outside interference implies a capacity for self-regulation and self-renewal, it is important that these additional qualifications and limitations be understood and accepted: