Senate Assembly passes resolution on academic freedom, harassment


The Senate Assembly has approved a resolution supporting academic freedom and asking the University of Michigan to expand support for faculty experiencing harassment.

The resolution was unanimously approved by the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs on Feb. 12. The Senate Assembly, the 77-member legislative arm of U-M’s central faculty governance system, gave unanimous consent to pass the resolution at its Feb. 19 meeting.

The resolution calls upon the university to expand its external-threat assessment, create a website to provide information to faculty experiencing harassment, and create a unit within the Provost’s Office to coordinate support for targeted faculty.

Citing faculty members who have “become victims of external harassment for exercising their academic freedom in the classroom,” the resolution also calls for the university to voice support for “U-M faculty members, individually and as a whole, in regard to their academic freedom.”

SACUA is the nine-member executive arm of U-M’s Faculty Senate. Its Academic Affairs Advisory Committee wrote the resolution and approved it Feb. 9. Resolutions like this one are advisory and represent the group’s point of view on a matter. ​​They do not represent the position or policy of the university.

SACUA and the U-M chapter of the American Association of University Professors last April asked the Provost’s Office to create a task force to address increasing threats of external harassment.

The university created a working group that submitted a list of recommendations in August.

The university is implementing more than half of those recommendations, including:

  • Publishing a dedicated web page with resources and support.
  • Issuing a strong statement in support of faculty.
  • Announcing plans to survey faculty to better understand their experience and desired support.
  • Announcing plans to create a coordinated response approach to consistently respond to these types of concerns.

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