Academic Freedom

Columbia College Hollywood is committed to protecting of the right to academic freedom, including the right to speak and create, to question and dissent, to participate in debate on and off campus, and to invite others to do the same, all without fear of restraint or penalty.

Academic freedom creates a culture of active discussion and debate, one where its members open themselves to the views of others, even when those views are provocative or unfamiliar. Academic freedom permits the expression of views that even the majority of the community may find misguided, ignorant, or offensive. The appropriate response to such statements in an academic setting is not to censor or punish, but to challenge, criticize, and persuade.

Academic freedom gives both students and faculty the right to study and do research on the topics they choose and to draw what conclusions they find consistent with their studies, though it does not prevent others from judging whether their work is valuable and their conclusions sound. Academic freedom means that the political, religious, or philosophical beliefs of politicians, administrators, and members of the public cannot be imposed on students or faculty.

Academic freedom protects a faculty member’s authority to assign grades to students, so long as the grades are not capricious or unjustly punitive. More broadly, academic freedom encompasses both the individual and institutional right to maintain academic standards.

Academic freedom is not unbounded. Academic freedom does not guarantee the right to defame or threaten, to deface or harass, or to incite violence or infringe on privacy. Academic freedom does not give students or faculty the right to ignore or violate college policies, though it does give faculty and students the right to express criticism of policies they believe are unfair. Academic freedom entails academic responsibility. There is no right to plagiarize or otherwise engage in academic misconduct. Academic freedom does not protect students or faculty from disciplinary action, but it does require that they receive fair treatment and due process.