|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
Nipissing University (Nipissing) lays out its commitment to academic freedom in its Faculty Agreement:
17.1 General Definition
(a) Members have a right to academic freedom, which is defined as the freedom, (i) individually or collectively, to acquire, to pursue, to develop, to preserve, and to transmit knowledge through research, study, examination, questioning, discussion, documentation (in all formats), production, creation, teaching, lecturing, writing, and performance, regardless of prescribed or official doctrine and without constriction by institutional censorship; and (ii) to disseminate their opinion(s) on any questions related to their teaching, professional, and creative activities, and research both inside and outside the classroom.
(b) The parties agree that academic freedom does not require neutrality on the part of the individual. It is furthermore agreed that academic freedom makes intellectual discourse, critique, and commitment possible.
17.2 The Freedom to Teach and its Responsibilities
(a) Members teaching courses have the right to the free expression of their views on the subject area, and may use and refer to materials and their treatment thereof without reference or adherence to prescribed or official doctrine.
(b) In such circumstances, the Member is expected to cover topics according to the Calendar description, to remain up to date in the knowledge of the discipline, to treat students fairly and ethically, and to teach effectively, which includes using fair, reasoned and fact-based arguments and showing a willingness to accommodate the expression of differing points of view.
17.5 The Freedom of Artistic Expression and its Responsibilities
(a) Members engaged in the creation and presentation of works in the visual and performing arts are as entitled to the protection afforded by the commitment to academic freedom as are their colleagues who write, teach, and study in other academic disciplines. Artistic expression, including presentations to the public, will have the same assurance of academic freedom.
(b) Direct or indirect attempts to impose tests of propriety, ideology, or religion on the artistic activity of these Members will be resisted by the University community, it being agreed that such tests are acts of censorship that limit the freedom to explore, to teach, and to learn.
Nipissing’s Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities includes a clause prohibiting disruption:
The University reserves the right to terminate, at any time, its relationship with any student whose *disruptive behaviour is deemed to be detrimental to the purposes and goals of the University. All students should be familiar with the regulations printed in the University Calendar as well as specific policies published from time to time.
*Definition - Disruptive behaviour applies to behaviour that persistently or grossly interferes with academic and administrative activities or reputation of the University.
The Code’s Preamble on Student Rights states:
At Nipissing University, students are free to think, speak, write, create, study, learn, pursue social, cultural and other interests, and freely associate together for all these purposes, subject to the requirement that they respect the rights of members of the University and general community to pursue these same freedoms and privileges. In order to secure these rights, the University will use its best efforts to ensure the following:
that those who wish to teach and those who wish to learn can do so under proper conditions; that academic and general facilities are available to those who wish to use them for their normal purposes; that freedom of movement and freedom from harassment are protected; that all property, including records, documents, and the like is protected; that those who wish to file a complaint have the right to do so without fear of reprisal.
The Code also states that Nipissing students are expected:
to refrain from conduct which harms or threatens harm to the proper functioning of University programs or activities both on and off campus which include but may not be limited to teaching, studying, research, administration, student events, meetings and other services; the rights of members or guests of the University; the safety and well-being of members or guests of the University and surrounding community; and the property of the University or of its members or guests.
Nipissing has a Policy on Political Activities and Events which states:
Nipissing University is committed to free and open discussion and the exchange of ideas and opinions on issues that affect the wider community, including the expression of political views, within its campus. Nipissing University encourages students, faculty and staff to exercise their civic rights to participate as individuals in the political process. Our status as an institution of higher education puts our faculty members in a position to provide expert commentary on local, provincial and federal issues, and to make meaningful contributions to public debate on a variety of wide-reaching public policy issues.
This Policy requires that:
Faculty, Staff and Board members may freely engage in comment on political issues or public policy as individuals, but shall refrain from purporting to be presenting the official position of the University. If a faculty, staff or board member is listed as a supporter of a political campaign or initiative it should be without mention of institutional affiliation or with a disclaimer indicating that their actions and statements are their own and not those of Nipissing University.
Nipissing’s Harassment and Discrimination Policies & Procedures states that students have a right to be free from a “poisoned work or study environment”.
Nipissing’s Acceptable Use Policy prohibits “offensive” computer content which is defined as any use of the resources which may reasonably be considered to offend other members of the community to such an extent that it may hinder them from using the system. Examples are given including “use of the resources to harass others,” and “use of publicly accessible resources to display material which is likely to conflict with the sensibilities of others, whether such material is in the form of text, image, sound or other digitized data.”
The authors are not aware of Nipissing University actively discriminating against its students and other members of the University on the basis of their views.
Bylaw 9, Section 3 governs student club activities at the Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU). Section 3.4 states that “No Official Club may be exclusive in its membership, with the exception of religious, political and areas of study clubs and only with prior approval by the Vice President Internal and Executive Committee.” Section 3.5 further states that “political clubs” may not apply for funding.
The authors are not aware of the NUSU discriminating against students because of their views, nor of denying access to resources on campus to students or student groups with unpopular messages.