The Colorado State University Faculty Council is taking steps to bring the university up to par with dozens of other schools around the country by making changes to the preface of the faculty manual.
The proposed changes involve clarifying a gray area that has developed. The issue involves free speech as a citizen, as guaranteed by First Amendment rights, and speaking as an employee of a government institution, which entails much more flexible regulations.
Additionally, under the university’s system of shared governance, members from the entire university community are invited to share criticisms and concerns on anything relating to the institution.
â€œShared governance is good for the faculty and good for the university,â€ said Tim Gallagher, incoming chair to the faculty council. â€œFor it to work, though, there must be protections.â€
Supreme court decisions over the years have left the issue to be decided by individual universities. Recently, the University of Minnesota amended their manual to protect academic freedom, and others around the country are doing the same.
â€œThese changes are very much in the mainstream,â€ Gallagher said.
The proposed changes to the manual appeared before the board of governors during a meeting on May 3 and were revisited during the June 20 meeting. The faculty council now must review the wording andover the next several months, come to an agreement with the board.
â€œWe want to get the wording right,â€ Gallagher said.
Gallagher will meet with Mike Nosler, general counselor of the board of governors, later this month to discuss the proposed changes and what the board would like to see as a result.
Nosler was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Staff writer Jason Pohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the faculty manual?
A manual university faculty and administrative members follow that outlines policies and procedures including disciplinary measures protocol.
Follow the Collegian throughout summer as this issue of protected speech develops.