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Academic Freedom and Responsibilities

To ensure the College an instructional program marked by excellence, the Virginia Community College System supports the concept of academic freedom. In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, College faculty and students must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism.

Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but should be careful not to introduce subject matter which have no relation to their fields. Faculty and students must be able to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence and to participate as responsible citizens in community affairs.

The System also recognizes that commitment to every freedom carries with it attendant responsibilities. Faculty members must fulfill responsibility to society and to their profession by manifesting academic competence, professional discretion, and good citizenship. When they speak or write as a citizen, they will be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their  special position in the community imposes special obligations. As professional educators, they must remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not an institutional spokesperson.

The development of a high regard for moral principles in the students is one of the important objectives of the College. Therefore, the highest standards of moral and professional conduct should characterize all members of the faculty. Members of the College community discussing College policies and practices should do so in the spirit of respect for views and opinions which are new or different and should seek to include in the discussion all who are legitimately concerned. A person under criticism should be given a fair opportunity to explain him- or herself. All College instructors should deal conscientiously and vigorously with every matter within their sphere of responsibility, however delicate or difficult. As scholars and as educators, they should remember that their  profession will be judged by their conduct.

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