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Negotiations: Article 5, Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities

Wright State University Chapter

American Association of University Professors

MOU? CBA? RCM? NTE? TET?

What are all these acronyms? See this guide.

AAUP-WSU proposed the changes in this article shown below at the negotiating session of February 10. Reports about the status of this article will be found below the article itself. As our team explained, the indicated changes are relative to the current CBA for TET faculty, but our intent is for the same changes to appear in the NTE CBA, too.

See our CBA Negotiations page for a roster of the AAUP-WSU negotiating team, brief reports about each negotiation session, and an article-by-article summary table with links to detailed information about each individual article that either the administration or AAUP-WSU proposes to include in the CBA.

Article 5

Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities

Note: the changes shown are relative to the current CBA for TET faculty, but AAUP-WSU intends that the same changes should appear in the NTE CBA, too.

5.1 Academic Freedom: 

5.1.1 Academic freedom is essential for the proper development of the University. It functions to protect the institution from unwarranted interference by external groups and to ensure the retention of the services of those whose contributions toward its goals make them an essential part of the faculty. In so doing, it secures the autonomy and integrity of the University and makes its development as an intellectual community an object of primary concern.

5.1.2 Academic freedom is the unqualified right of every Member of the Bargaining Unit, whether or not that person possesses tenure. It carries a reciprocal obligation to respect and maintain the academic freedom of every other member of the University community.

5.1.3 Academic freedom is the freedom to teach, both in and outside the classroom; to conduct research and to publish, display or perform the results of those investigations; and to address any matter of institutional policy or action whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance. Professors should also have the freedom to address the larger community with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, or other interest, without institutional discipline, save in response to fundamental violations of professional ethics, statements that suggest disciplinary incompetence, or violations of the professional responsibilities set forth in Sections 5.2.1 through 5.2.5.

5.1.4 Bargaining Unit Faculty are entitled to freedom to teach, profess and discuss material in the classroom subject to limits detailed below.

5.2 Professional Responsibilities: 

5.2.1 Members of the Bargaining Unit, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, shall recognize that academic responsibility implies faithful performance of professional duties and obligations. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and state the truth as they see it. To this end Members shall devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They have an obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They shall practice intellectual honesty. Although Members may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

5.2.2 As teachers, Bargaining Unit Faculty shall encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They shall hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Bargaining Unit Faculty shall demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Members of the Bargaining Unit shall make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They shall avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They shall acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students.

5.2.3 As colleagues, Bargaining Unit Faculty have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Members of the Bargaining Unit shall not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They shall respect and defend their associates' the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas Members shall show due respect for the opinions of others, even when disagreeing with or criticizing others' opinions. Bargaining Unit Faculty shall acknowledge academic debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues.

5.2.4 In making public statements–including the exercise of the right to responsible dissent on matters of institutional policy or educational philosophy–Members of the Bargaining Unit have an obligation to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show due respect for the opinions of others (even when disagreeing with or criticizing others' opinions), and to make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the University.

5.2.5 Bargaining Unit Faculty shall accept their share of faculty responsibilities in the academic governance of the University.

Status of Negotiations about the Above Article

May 23, 2013

The parties agreed that section 5.2.4 would read as follows:

5.2.4 In making public statements–including the exercise of the right to responsible dissent on matters of institutional policy or educational philosophy–Members of the Bargaining Unit have an obligation to be accurate, to act in a professional manner, to show due respect for others (even when disagreeing with or criticizing others’ opinions), and to make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the University.

This settled the last issue regarding this article, so the parties TA'd (tentatively agreed to) it. Here is the TA'd version.

April 9, 2014

Our team submitted a counterproposal. The parties continued to disagree about the language "to exercise appropriate restraint" in 5.2.4. Notice we reinserted that language in 5.2.4 but, in a new section 5.2.4.1, asked the same of administrators making public statements.

February 12, 2014

The administration put forth a counterproposal that differed from our original (see table above) as follows.

In section 5.1.2, the closing phrase ", whether or not that person possesses tenure" was deleted; likewise, in section 5.1.3, "Professors" is changed to "Members of the Bargaining Unit". These changes are already present in the NTE CBA and will allow the parties to use identical text in the two CBAs. Our team had already agreed to these changes.

In section 5.2.4, it restored the phrase "to exercise appropriate restraint", in line with the view it expressed on February 10.

February 10, 2014

Our negotiating team put forth the modified article shown above, explaining that although the indicated changes (see 5.2.3 and 5.2.4) are relative to the current CBA for TET faculty, our intent is for the same changes to appear in the NTE CBA, too. We further explained that our intent is to distinguish between the obligation of a faculty member to respect another person while not necessarily agreeing with the other person's views. The administration seemed to understand and even agree with our point of view, save only that it expressed reservations about our deletion of "to exercise appropriate restraint" from 5.2.4.

The administration also noted that the parties could change the term "Professors" in 5.1.3 to "Members of the Bargaining Unit" (for example) so as to have identical language in the two CBAs. Of course our team agreed.


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This page was last modified on Monday, June 2, 2014. Corrections, comments, and suggestions are most welcome. Contact the webmaster for this page (Jim Vance) at jimvance.wsu@gmail.com, telephone 937-775-2206. To contact the chapter, please see our Staff, Officers, and Committees page.