Jan 25, 2024
In light of ongoing global events and the upcoming election cycle, I write to remind all instructors of university policies relevant to academic freedom and political advocacy in the classroom. While instructors enjoy considerable freedom and all individuals, when acting as private citizens, enjoy free speech rights, University policy does impose limits on using the classroom or one's course for purposes of political advocacy. As a public institution we have a particular obligation to preserve the public's trust.
Regents' Policy 2301: Policy on Course Content upholds students' rights to have their classes held as scheduled and taught by the instructor assigned to the course. This policy also prohibits "misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination, for purposes other than those for which the course was constituted, or for providing grades without commensurate and appropriate student achievement."
The Faculty Code of Conduct, found in Section 015 of the Academic Personnel Manual, and Article 3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with Unit 18 Lecturers both prohibit significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course and the use of the position or powers of a faculty member to coerce the judgment or conscience of a student or to cause harm to a student for arbitrary or personal reasons.
This is a time at which we should strengthen our commitment to tolerance, civility, and mutual respect for the diversity of our population and the variety of views and opinions held. This and other guidelines by which we operate are described in UCI's Principles of Community.
Instructors who have questions concerning permissible or impermissible actions should discuss them with their department chair or school dean.
Thank you for your commitment to our students.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor's Professor, Department of Statistics