Statement of Academic Freedom, UWO

January 2004

  1. The essential functions of a university are the pursuit, creation and dissemination of knowledge through Research and other scholarly and creative activities, and by Teaching. Academic Freedom is essential to these functions and ensures the right of Members to teach, investigate and speculate, and/or to create or perform works of art, without deference to prescribed doctrine. Furthermore, universities are communities in which the right to criticize all aspects of society is valued and respected. These rights are to be understood as central to the protection of the public interest and the pursuit of truth.
  2. Academic Freedom specifically entails, but is not necessarily limited to, the right to:
    1. conduct Research and to publish the results thereof in media, and according to a schedule, deemed appropriate by the Member(s) concerned, subject to the provisions of any contract with a third party that imposes a delay on the publication of the Member's Research. Any contractual arrangement concerning Research shall comply with standards of research conduct that membership in a professional body may impose on that Member, with the Articles Intellectual Property and Academic Responsibilities, with relevant federal and provincial statutes, and with regulations and policies promulgated by Senate or the Board of Governors which are not in conflict with this Collective Agreement, for the protection of researchers, human subjects, the health and safety of the public, and the welfare of laboratory animals;
    2. teach and discuss;
    3. select, acquire, disseminate or use documents in the exercise of the Member's professional responsibilities;
    4. criticize the Employer, the Association or any corporate, political, public or private institution; and
    5. create or perform works of art; all without deference to prescribed doctrine.
  3. The Employer and the Association agree to uphold and protect the principles of Academic Freedom as specified herein and not to infringe upon or abridge them.
  4. The exercise of Academic Freedom, as described in this Article, shall not cause the imposition of any penalty or reprisal on a Member by the Employer or the Association. Neither shall the Employer or the Association countenance the restraint of Academic Freedom or the imposition, arising from its exercise, of any penalties or reprisals upon Members by any person, institution, agency or corporation with whom the Employer or the Association does business, or by any donor to the University or the Association, or from any source within the University.
  5. The credibility of the principles of Academic Freedom depends upon a collective commitment to exercise these principles in a manner consistent with the scholarly obligation to base research and teaching on an honest and ethical search for knowledge.
  6. Academic Freedom does not require neutrality on the part of a Member nor does it preclude commitment on the part of a Member. Rather, Academic Freedom makes such commitment possible. Academic Freedom also carries the responsibility to respect the rights and freedoms of others. In particular, Members are expected to recognize the right of other members of the academic community - faculty, staff and students - to express their opinions. Academic Freedom does not confer legal immunity or legal defence by the Employer in respect of positions that may be taken but which are not specifically sanctioned by the Employer, nor does it diminish the obligation of Members to meet their responsibilities to the Employer.
  7. Members shall not purport to speak on behalf of the Employer or the Association unless specifically authorized to do so. A statement of affiliation with, or position in the University, or of qualifications relevant thereto, shall not be construed as an attempt to speak on behalf of the Employer. A statement of Membership or position in the Association shall not be construed as an attempt to speak on behalf of the Association.
  8. The Parties endorse and subscribe to the statement defining Academic Freedom in the context of libraries and expressing the responsibility of libraries to uphold Academic Freedom, given originally as the Canadian Library Association's Statement on Intellectual Freedom.