Academic Freedoms and Related Responsibilities

[extract from a report to the Senate of The University of Hong Kong, 2002]

(B) Academic Freedoms and Related Responsibilities

The Institution

Freedom:
To govern its own affairs, in particular, in teaching and research.

Responsibility:
To maintain academic standards and independence of judgement; to promote and defend these freedoms.

Members of the University

Freedom:
To question and test received wisdom and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions.

Responsibility:
To support the same freedoms for those of differing views.

Freedom:
To question the governance and conduct of University affairs at all levels.

Responsibility:
To engage in rational and constructive debate to resolve issues.

Freedom:
To discuss the University's affairs in appropriate media.

Responsibility:
To do so with integrity and fairness, not representing personal opinions as those of the University.

Freedom:
To take an active part in the academic governance of the University.

Responsibility:
To abide by decisions properly reached.

Freedom:
To engage in study, teaching and research.

Responsibility:
To adhere to the appropriate standards of reasoning, proof and integrity.

Freedom:
To select methods and teaching course elements which have been properly agreed.

Responsibility:
To take full cognizance of 
(i) the intellectual and professional needs of students, and 
(ii) requirements for the integrity and coherence of an academic course.

Freedom:
To select one's areas of research, to publish subject to academic judgement.

Responsibility:
To maintain high standards of scholarship and to be responsive to reasoned discussion.

Freedom:
To communicate and collaborate with colleagues and students anywhere in the world.

Responsibility:
To respect the intellectual property of others.

Freedom:
To abstain from research which is morally repugnant to the individual.

Responsibility:
To be rational and consistent in such decisions.

Freedom:
To propose, defend and pursue lines of enquiry.

Responsibility:
To recognize constraints such as of time, resources and ethics.

Freedom:
To question teaching, request explanation.

Responsibility:
To apply due diligence in study to advance personal scholarship.

Freedom:
To challenge assertions, dogma and assumptions.

Responsibility:
To be rationally motivated in making those challenges, consider explanations charitably.

Freedom:
To manage delegated academic affairs at any level according to professional judgement.

Responsibility:
To use that stewardship with integrity in an open, rational and equitable manner.

Freedom:
To offer expert advice in academic contexts to colleagues and students.

Responsibility:
To avoid simply using rank or positions as an means of imposing opinions or values.

Freedom:
To offer expert advice in non-academic contexts.

Responsibility:
To do so with integrity on the basis of evidence.

Freedom:
To act as referee, advisor, editor or the like for appointments, promotions, reviews, discontinuations, grant applications, professional publications and so forth.

Responsibility:
To use objective unbiased criteria in judging quality, suitability, content, merit,etc., free of political or personal considerations.

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