Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recognizes that the struggles of all higher education faculty across the country are the struggles of those in California and recognizes the immense value of general education, majors, and minors in and related to the fields of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility and Critical Race Theory;
Whereas, Academic freedom is defined by the American Association of University Professors as an “indispensable requisite for unfettered teaching and research in institutions of higher education,” and that “institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition” ;
Whereas, The definition of academic freedom, as defined by the American Association of University Professors, conveys the importance of academic freedom in relation to free speech, and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has previously expressed the importance of academic freedom through resolutions and in academic senate position papers such as Protecting the Future of Academic Freedom During a Time of Significant Change, recognizing that individuals with academic and andragogical expertise should have final say and purview over academic offerings while still being open to ideas and theories supported by facts and reasoning that are non-traditional or outside the mainstream; and
Whereas, Multiple states, counties, cities, and school boards have passed or are debating the passing of legislation to limit academic freedom within primary, secondary, and higher education, specifically targeted at Critical Race Theory and racial and social justice, and whereas those efforts are not just attempts to remove Critical Race Theory from the curriculum but rather they are attempts to remove inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility from the educational system, and these efforts are deeply problematic, could stifle a full exploration of the role of race and racism in the history of the United States, and could erase some people from the same classroom in which they have the right to be participants as educators and students;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges condemn political agents who attempt to undermine academic freedom and oppose any legislation or codification of documents that undermines academic freedom, limits free speech, or seeks to curtail academic self-direction and to censor academic offerings, the historical record, and academic research;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) call on past and present leaders of the ASCCC, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, local senates of the California community colleges, and community college faculty to reject all attempts by external groups to restrict or dictate college curriculum on any matter, including but not limited to matters related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility and racial and social justice and to stand in solidarity with those groups across the nation seeking to bolster academic freedom, such as the Academic Freedom Alliance, the American Library Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Association of University Professors;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges research the best practices to bolster academic freedom in higher education through legal, academic, and other mechanisms, with the goal of developing a toolkit to effectively oppose efforts that seek to gut academic freedom, such as Florida’s House Bill 999: Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions;  and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges stand with colleagues in higher education and K-12 throughout the state and country who may be affected by legislation that endangers academic freedom.
1. “1940 Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure.” American Association of University Professors. https://www.aaup.org/report/1940-statement-principles-academic-freedom-and-tenure; https://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/AAUP_academic_freedom.pdf.
2. Florida’s CS/HB 999: Postsecondary Educational Institutions: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/999. The following cites some of the Florida bill to provide some context and perspective: HB 999 specifically bans state colleges and universities from financially supporting any programs or campus activities that “espouse Diversity, Equity, or Inclusion (DEI), or Critical Race Theory (CRT) rhetoric” – even though the bill does not define CRT rhetoric. Postsecondary Educational Institutions: Revises powers & duties of BOG; revises academic & research excellence standards for preeminent state research universities; provides requirements for hiring university faculty; provides requirements for employment, promotion, & evaluation processes for state university employees; authorizes state university boards of trustees to review tenure status of faculty members; requires such boards to confirm selection & reappointment of specified personnel; requires state university presidents to annually present specified information to such boards; creates Institute for Risk Management & Insurance Education within College of Business at UCF; revises requirements for general education core courses. Effective Date: July 1, 2023.