HomeFaculty & StaffAcademic RegulationsChapter 13: Academic Freedom and Non-Attribution Policy

Academic Freedom and Non-Attribution Policy


  1. Purpose.  The purpose of this chapter is to provide the MCU philosophy and policy on academic freedom and non-attribution.

  2. Background.

    a.Academic freedom is the ability of faculty, students, and staff within the University to pursue knowledge, speak, write, and explore complex, and often controversial, concepts and subjects without interference or fear of reprisal.  Academic freedom is a key tenet at MCU and is fundamental and essential to the health of the academic institution.

    b.Non-attribution is the lack of attributing any statement, comment, or remark to participants (faculty, staff, students, or guest speakers) engaging in academic discourse by name in public media or forums, or knowingly transmitting those statements, comments, or remarks to persons who will enter statements into the public arena, unless specifically authorized to do so.  Open expression requires trust that those thoughts and opinions are treated as privileged information not to be shared in other forums nor attributed to a specific individual.

    c.The time-honored tradition of free speech carries with it profound individual responsibility as well.  In short, academic freedom must be tempered by good judgment so that individuals refrain from making unreasonably offensive or irresponsible statements either verbally or in writing.  Examples of statements that are not protected by the University policy on academic freedom include the denigration of any person’s race, color, ethnic group, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender.  This is not meant to restrict discussions of controversial subjects; however, good judgment and discretion must be a guiding standard.  Further, academic integrity requires that anyone who writes for publication must pursue factual accuracy and safeguard classified information, to include information such as FOUO or PII. DoD Directive 5230 describes procedures for release of information officially endorsed by an academic institution, as well as those for an individual acting in a private capacity and not connected with his or her official duties.

    d.The powerful amalgam of academic freedom, non-attribution, and individual responsibility contributes to the institutional integrity of the University and includes the following principal elements:

    i.Freedoms to teach, conduct research, and publish research findings.

    ii.Freedom to discuss in a classroom any material or ideas relevant to the course, to include controversial, unusual, or unpopular topics.

    iii.Freedom to seek changes in academic and institutional policies without fear of reprisal.

    iv.Responsibility to pursue excellence, intellectual honesty, and objectivity in teaching.

    v.Responsibility to encourage faculty, students, and colleagues to engage in critical thinking, free discussion, publication, and inquiry on relevant subjects.

  3. Academic Freedom Policy.

    a.Authors shall ensure appropriate disclaimers accompany all works produced for publication, presentation, or other release.  An appropriate disclaimer is as follows:

    “The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of any U.S. Government organization.”

    b.Personnel who prepare manuscripts for publication on a subject in which they have had access to classified material should submit the manuscript through their chain of command for security clearance prior to release to any publisher.

    c.All program directors shall provide an appropriate mechanism through which a proper security review may be conducted.  If there is any question on the security aspects of material, it shall be submitted for security review in accordance with DoD Directive 5230.09 (Clearance of DoD Information for Public Release).

    d.Military faculty and students are limited in the manner in which they may publicly criticize senior officials.  However, as an academic institution, MCU recognizes and encourages full and open discussion and debate of any policies within the classroom and under the umbrella of non-attribution, so long as such criticism and debate is done in a professional manner.

    e.Faculty members may not be separated for exhibiting academic freedom and candor in written and oral products, provided the provisions of DoD Directive 5230.09 and DoD Directive 5500.7 (Joint Ethics Regulations) are followed. 

  4. Non-Attribution Policy.

    a.MCU encourages faculty, staff, and students to actively engage in free discussion and inquiry expressing their personal views in lectures or in seminar discussion groups without fear of attribution.  At the beginning of each academic year or course of instruction, educational program directors are responsible for informing faculty, staff, and students of the MCU policy to maintain an atmosphere of free and open discussion while also adhering to the principles of non-attribution.   

    b.Guest speaker presentations at MCU will not be recorded by attendees, by any means, without express written permission in advance from the guest speaker and the education program director or authorized representative.  Those wishing to request permission should follow the example provided in Appendix M.  To facilitate candid expression and learning, the non-attribution policy applies to all MCU programs, sessions, and distributed materials in which guest speakers participate.