Provost's Statement on Senate Actions regarding Academic Freedom

The following statement was issued today (6.8.12) by UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter:

In March, 1953, the Association of American Universities (AAU) adopted a statement articulating "The Rights and Responsibilities of Universities and Their Faculties." It includes these words: "A university must ... be hospitable to an infinite variety of skills and viewpoints, relying upon open competition among them as the surest safeguard of truth. Its whole spirit requires investigation, criticism, and presentation of ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and mutual confidence. This is the real meaning of 'academic' freedom."

A committee of our campus's Academic Senate has devoted considerable time and effort to examining an assertion by a faculty member of the UC Davis School of Medicine that his academic freedoms were compromised by school administrators. Our Senate's Representative Assembly earlier today heard and ratified the committee's findings.

Academic freedom is sacrosanct at UC Davis, and the underlying assertions in this matter are deeply troubling. My office will review this case and take appropriate actions.