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Faculty Handbook, Chapter 3 - Faculty Personnel Policies

3.6.4 Academic Freedom

Every faculty member, whether tenured or untenured, shall be entitled to the right of academic freedom in the performance of his or her duties. The faculty member shall be judged only by the confessional standards of Calvin College, and by the professional standards appropriate to his or her role and discipline. A faculty member shall not be expected or required to retract or modify his or her utterances merely because a complaint against them has been received. Only complaints which allege a violation of confessional or professional standards shall be considered, and then only when the evidence supporting the allegation is more substantial than rumor or hearsay. By making this commitment to its entire faculty, Calvin College seeks to implement the Christian principles of justice and charity in its own community.

A staff member is entitled to academic freedom as defined above. It extends to the discipline in the classroom, to research, writings, and other public utterances in the field of professional competence. It does not extend to the expression in the classroom of opinions on controversial and partisan issues which have no relationship to his or her discipline or teaching subject. The classroom may not serve the teacher as a platform for causes unrelated to his or her profession as a Christian teacher of a discipline.

The Calvin College teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and a representative of Calvin College. When speaking as a citizen, the teacher should be free from institutional censorship or discipline unless his or her Christian character is compromised or Christian witness impaired. However, a special position in the church and in the community imposes special obligations. The Calvin College staff member should remember that the public will tend to judge the profession and the institution by his or her utterances. Therefore, he or she should be accurate at all times, exercise proper restraint, and respect the rights of others to express their opinions. The faculty member shall not attempt to politicize the institution in purely partisan matters, and shall dissociate the college from political activities.

Staff members are permitted and, normally, even encouraged to run for political office or hold memberships on civic commissions. Should staff members be elected or appointed to such positions which necessitate either partial reduction in or complete separation from service to Calvin College, they may retain their position on the staff, but then under the terms of the leave of absence policy.