Policies on Academic Freedom

Columbia University and its Schools comprise an academic community committed to fostering intellectual inquiry in a climate of academic freedom and integrity. Its members are expected to uphold these principles and exhibit tolerance and respect for others. We are all guided by the University’s Rules of Conduct to cultivate a safe and respectful academic environment where we can openly exchange ideas across a full spectrum of viewpoints. All members of our community may engage in our cherished traditions of free expression and open debate, including engaging in demonstrations or protests. However, the right to demonstrate cannot come at the expense of the right of others to counter-demonstrate, to teach, or to engage in academic pursuits requiring uninterrupted attention. 

Our School upholds the principles of academic freedom as amended from Part II, Section VII of the University Charter and Statutes.

  1. Academic freedom implies that all officers of instruction and all students are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects;
  2. Faculty and students are entitled to freedom of research and in the submission and publication of its results;
  3. Faculty may not be penalized by the University for expression of opinions or associations in their private or civic capacity; and
  4. Students may not be penalized by faculty or the University administration for expression of opinions or associations in their private or civic capacity.

Issues that are grievable include:

  1. Failure to respect the opinions of students in an instructional setting;
  2. Misuse of faculty authority to promote a political or social cause within an instructional setting; and
  3. Personal conduct in the classroom or another instructional setting that adversely affects the learning environment.