Apr 14, 2024  
Faculty Handbook 2023 - 2024 
Faculty Handbook 2023 - 2024

4.4.4 - KSU Academic Freedom Complaints

I.  Overview

The informal and formal grievance process laid out in Section 4.4.3  above may apply to any variety of conflicts. However, violations of Academic Freedom, a core principal of KSU and outlined in Section 2.1  of this handbook, require particular attention and expertise. This section outlines procedures that complement those in Section 4.4.3 .and are intended to fulfill requirements of SACSCOC and explore complaints made specifically related to violations of Academic Freedom. When faculty believe their Academic Freedom has been violated, the procedures outlined below govern the process prior to a formal grievance procedure outline in 4.4.3. III  above.

II.  Optional Resolution at Departmental or College Level

A faculty member who believes their Academic Freedom as outlined in Section 2.1  of this document may have been violated, may choose to bring their complaint to the relevant department/college administrator(s) or colleague(s) to clarify policies, decision-making authority, and other issues related to the complaint. Please note this process is optional, especially if the faculty member believes that participating will jeopardize their position further. Faculty may choose to skip this step and move directly to 4.4.4.III below. If complaint is resolved at this level, complainant is encouraged to report the outcome to the CAF for SACSCOC purposes.

III.  Preliminary Academic Freedom Complaint

In support of SACSCOC reporting requirements, and to facilitate the long-term protection of Academic Freedom principles at KSU, the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) will serve as the repository of Academic Freedom Complaints. Members of the CAF shall be intimately familiar with the principles of Academic Freedom outlined in Section 2.1  of this handbook and promulgated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and ideally trained in the application of those principles. The CAF shall consist of six members, including five tenured faculty members, serving staggered five-year terms, plus one University Ombud serving as a non-voting ex-officio member of the CAF. The FSEC shall solicit nominations from Senators and non-Senators, and the Faculty Senate shall elect CAF members from among the nominees. The members of the CAF shall elect a chair from amongst themselves. Senators shall strive for disciplinary diversity on the CAF, and there shall be no more than two voting CAF members from any single college in the University. The CAF shall draft, and if necessary, amend its bylaws and the AFC filing form.

Faculty who believe their Academic Freedom may have been violated may follow the procedures below prior to filing a formal grievance as outlined above in Section 4.4.3 .

  1. Submit Academic Freedom Complaint (AFC) complaint (will be recorded for SACSCOC) using AFC form.
  2. Complainant will meet with at least two members of CAF to discuss content of complaint and explore options.
  3. CAF Chair determines whether complaint can be reasonably interpreted as a violation of Academic Freedom:

a.If not, complaint is recorded for the purposes of SACSCOC, but no further action is taken by CAF on this AFC. Complainant may elect to initiate formal grievance procedure as outlined in Section 4.4.3  above.

b.If so, AFC process continues as outlined below.

  1. CAF reviews complaint by discussing with relevant parties. This information gathering step may not necessarily require involvement of or exposure of complainant identity. This review may include discussion with accused, relevant shared governance bodies disciplinary experts, Academic Freedom experts, other faculty members and administrative or staff members, if appropriate.
  2. CAF recommends a remedy to both parties. Any agreement must be agreed to by both parties and signed off on by Provost.
  3. If either party rejects CAF recommendation, complainant may initiate formal grievance procedures as outline in Section 4.4.3  above, with recommendation from CAF to be included as written evidence at all levels of review. Complainant may also elect to drop complaint.
  4. Each fall, the CAF shall compile a report to be submitted to the FSEC, CDA, and the Provost/President. This report shall include all preliminary complaints reported to the CAF, proposed resolutions, and outcome.