Statement of Academic Freedom
At Los Angeles Pacific University, we believe that all truth is God’s truth, and that God has made it possible for humankind to access, discover, and understand truth. We also affirm that the knowledge of truth will always be incomplete and that people, including those with educational credentials, are fallible and may interpret data and ideas imperfectly.
Therefore, academic freedom from a Christ-centered perspective must be carried out with civility, mature judgment, and the awareness of the broad representation of Christian faith that exists within this institution. Accordingly, LAPU affirms its commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression in academic endeavors.
The university recognizes that academic freedom has historically been defined both by broadly accepted academic standards and by the mission and character of the institution in which it is practiced. LAPU seeks to maintain an academic community in which instructors are free to engage in rigorous scholarly inquiry and expression within an intellectual context shaped by the evangelical Christian tradition. In addition to this freedom, LAPU seeks to pursue scholarly inquiry and expression in a way that extends and enriches the academic disciplines from the unique resources provided by the institution’s identity.
Thus, at LAPU, academic freedom is defined both by the commonly accepted standards of the academy and by those commitments articulated in the documents that are central to the university’s identity as a Christian university. These documents articulate the central commitments which shape the academic community, and thus the practice of academic freedom, at LAPU: a belief in God as the Creator of all things, in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, in the Holy Spirit as teacher and guide, in Scripture as God’s authoritative and infallible revelation, and in the Christian community as an expression and vehicle of God’s redemptive work in this world. The university follows these principles in its practice of academic freedom:
- Instructors are entitled to the rights and privileges, and bear the obligations, of academic freedom in the performance of their duties. Specifically, instructors are free to pursue truth and knowledge within their disciplines in the classroom, in their research and writings, and in other public statements in their field of professional competence. At all times instructors should strive for accuracy, exercise appropriate restraint, and show respect for the opinions of others.
- Instructors are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Instructors should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to the subject.
- While instructors are members of the global community, as scholars and members of the LAPU community, instructors should remain cognizant that the public will form perceptions of their profession and their institution by their utterances.
- In the practice of the academic vocation, complaints against instructors may be generated. Instructors shall be protected from any request to retract or modify their research, publication, or teaching merely because a complaint has been received. Only complaints alleging instructors’ violations of professional standards of the discipline or of advocating positions incompatible with the central commitments of LAPU as a Christian university shall be considered, and then only when the evidence supporting the allegation is more substantial than rumor, inference, or hearsay.
- In the event that an instructor believes his or her academic freedom has been unduly restricted, he or she may pursue resolution of this issue through the existing grievance procedure as articulated in the Academic Affairs Handbook.