Back See this section in context: Criterion 4 Core Component 4A
4A.1: Freedom of Inquiry
In order for a college to be most effective in valuing a life of learning, the college must have clear guidelines that outline the rights of students, faculty, and staff members when dealing with freedom of inquiry or, as it is more commonly known, academic freedom. The Board has approved and disseminated statements supporting freedom of inquiry for Sauk’s students and faculty, honoring those statements in its practices:
- Faculty: In Board Policy 402.01 (), the academic freedom policy is established for teaching faculty and is published in the Sauk faculty and adjunct handbooks:
. . . The College believes that creative scholarship can thrive only in an atmosphere where there is freedom for examination of ideas. Such freedom includes the right to investigate problems, and to evaluate and question accepted theories. It carries with it the responsibility to offer alternative solutions in an unbiased manner and to develop in students the habit of independent investigation. . . .
When surveyed in fall 2009, 91% of Sauk faculty indicated that Sauk creates and encourages an atmosphere of academic freedom to a moderate or high degree. When the Sauk administration was asked this same question, 86% of administrators responded that Sauk supports academic freedom to a moderate or high degree (see Figure 4i).
- Students: Board policy 601.01 () gives academic rights to all students: “Sauk is committed to a philosophy which ensures the basic rights of students, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right of inquiry.” This support of student academic freedom is implemented in the following practices:
- Students are allowed to form student organizations: Board policies provide students “…the right to assemble” and define the governing principles for student organizations. This right is in evidence at Sauk in two forms of student assemblies:
- Student Government Association (SGA) consists of elected representatives from the student population at large and from each student organization. It has the authority to allocate funds to student organizations, present student opinions to the administration, and to place representatives on various institutional committees.
- Student organizations provide a forum for students to express their opinions and thoughts. Students may form college-sanctioned clubs according to the guidelines published in the Student Organization Manual. Such student-initiated clubs come and go with student interest and volunteer advisor availability. Other types of organizations, such as Phi Theta Kappa, have a long tradition at Sauk.
- Students elect a student trustee: One way that students become involved and institute their rights of inquiry is by electing a student trustee to the Board of Trustees. Although the student trustee cannot vote, he or she is allowed to participate as a full Board member in every other way and acts as a liaison to SGA for student concerns.
- Students are allowed to have a student magazine with a student editorial board: Sauk publishes an annual arts magazine entitled The Works, which showcases student creativity. The student editorial board is guided by an unpaid faculty advisor. The magazine is distributed free to students and employees, with the cost of publication covered by Student Activities funds and campus fundraising activities.
- Students were allowed to have a student newspaper with a student editorial board: Although Board policy shows Sauk’s continued commitment to “...freedom of the press...,” the student newspaper, The Voyager, was discontinued in 2007. The policies that provided guidelines for a student paper were eliminated in 2010. The paper had been published on a tri-weekly basis as per the Illinois Community College Journalism Association (ICCJA) guidelines; and over the years, student reporters had won numerous awards from the ICCJA.