3-14: Academic Freedom – Policy

Policy Overview

Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) is committed to the principle and the practice of academic freedom, as protected by Constitutional rights to free speech. This policy outlines the College’s benefits, expectations, and responsibilities of academic freedom. This policy informs other SFCC policies, particularly those that guide how we conduct our academic endeavors, publicly express ideas and opinions, use College technology, and interact with each other. (See policies in the Authority section below.)

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all members of the SFCC community in their academic endeavors.

Policy Statement

  1. SFCC is committed to the free inquiry and discussion of ideas as necessary and beneficial for the pursuit of higher education for a free society and for the common good. SFCC upholds the protection that academic freedom affords to all members of the SFCC community. Members of the SFCC community have a corresponding duty to exercise the responsibilities that accompany academic freedom.
  2. SFCC encourages a scholarly atmosphere by fostering respect for new, challenging, or controversial ideas and diverse viewpoints among SFCC community members; where ideas are critically examined and evaluated; and where students are taught to think independently.
  3. All members of the SFCC community are expected to adhere to scholarly and ethical best practices in their academic endeavors.
  4. All members of the SFCC community will consider the relevancy of the material and methods in the educational setting.
  5. Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled, and are evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to established academic criteria and standards.


  1. Academic endeavors Undertakings in the pursuit, creation, and expression of knowledge and understanding, regardless of format. These include, but are not limited to, teaching, teaching methods, learning, researching, accessing and sharing information, publishing, and participating in professional activities. It does not include activities that are generally considered part of the administrative functions of the College.
  2. Academic freedom Defined as the right to freely engage in intellectual inquiry and debate without fear of censorship, sanction, or retaliation.
  3. Administrative functions those that support the operations of the College. Examples include, but are not limited to, producing marketing and promotional materials, writing computer code and applications, developing training materials, producing procedure manuals, writing policy, and all products of College committee and task force work.
  4. SFCC Community is defined as all those who are physically on campus, are working or studying remotely, and/or who possess an SFCC email address.

Policy Process

  1. SFCC provides open access to information, including but not limited to, uncensored access to internet resources and library materials for SFCC community members. Access will be limited when the College or the Library is closed or in times of technical problems or emergency situations.
  2. As appropriate in a free society, SFCC community members are entitled to express their personal opinions. Those who are invited to speak on behalf of the College and are officially representing the College’s position must obtain prior approval from the President’s Office. Those expressing a personal opinion on matters related to the college must make it clear they are not speaking for the College. The position of official spokesperson for SFCC is reserved for the President, the Board Chair, the Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations, or their designees (Policy 1-4 Governing Board Code of Conduct, Policy 4-18 Political Activities and Testimony and Policy 8-6 Public Information/Notices and News Media Contacts.)

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs (OASA), shall be responsible for enforcing academic and student affairs procedures and policies. OASA shall work with different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention and remediation.


United States Constitution, First Amendment
Policy 1-4 Governing Board Code of Conduct
Policy 2-1 Student Code of Conduct
Policy 2-23 Student Discrimination and Harassment
Policy 4-1 Workplace Ethics and Code of Conduct
Policy 4-4 Fraud, Waste and Abuse
Policy 4-9 Discrimination and Harassment
Policy 4-10 Sexual Harassment
Policy 7-1 Information Technology Resources Usage and Security
Policy 8-6: Public Information/Notices and News Media Contacts
Approved by the Governing Board: 09-28-2006
Revised 1/16; 2/16; 3/16;
Revised and Governing Board approved: 6/22/16