Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) acknowledges the importance of academic freedom, most recently through the fall 2020 adoption of the paper Protecting the Future of Academic Freedom in a Time of Great Change and the adoption of Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) acknowledges the importance of academic freedom, most recently through the fall 2020 adoption of the paper Protecting the Future of Academic Freedom in a Time of Great Change and the adoption of Resolution 06.02 F20 Legislative and System Support for Academic Freedom, which called for the ASCCC “to work with system partners and faculty unions to advocate for inclusion of the definition, rights, and responsibilities of academic freedom into California Education Code, guard against legislative changes that erode educational freedom, and educate all stakeholders on the importance of protecting academic freedom”; and
Whereas, Current polarizing racial, cultural, and political events and increasing efforts to silence opposing viewpoints necessitate public reaffirmation of core principles of academic freedom, including that “academic freedom allows for students to be introduced to a diverse range of ideas that often contrast and even compete with each other within an academic framework and invites them to participate in a rigorous analysis and comparison of these ideas as a means of developing their own interpretations” (Vélez & Curry, Academic Freedom and Equity, ASCCC Rostrum, November 2020);
Whereas, While Title 5 §51023 requires governing boards of community college districts to adopt a policy statement on academic freedom, California Education Code does not include specific provisions protecting academic freedom, resulting in a wide variety of academic freedom policies across districts and colleges and a lack of “the uniformity necessary to uphold and ensure the principles of academic freedom across all of California’s community colleges” (SR45, Min as of March 17, 2022); and
Whereas, SR45 (Min, 2021) acknowledges that “Freedom of thought and expression are necessary for every higher education institution “ and “Academic freedom is foundational for the free flow of knowledge, ideas, and governance on college campuses” while also declaring “that academic freedom is an essential requisite for teaching and learning in California Community Colleges,” a position that the ASCCC Executive Committee expressed in its letter of support following action at its February 4-5, 2022 Executive Committee meeting: “[SR 45] is thus both timely and important, and the ASCCC appreciates and endorses its accurate explanation of the significance of and issues surrounding academic freedom as well as its strong statement of support for the concept”;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges support SR 45 (Min, as of March 17, 2022); and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges advocate for the explicit inclusion of academic freedom in California Education Code.