Policy I-1

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(Approved: UFC, 11/3/70; Trustees, 12/19/70; Amended: UFC, 11/30/76, 2/11/86, 2/11/92, 10/3/96, 4/28/09; Trustees, 12/13/96, 6/12/09)


The central functions of an academic community are learning, teaching, and scholarship. They must be characterized by reasoned discourse, intellectual honesty, mutual respect, and openness to constructive change. By accepting membership in this community, an individual neither surrenders rights nor escapes fundamental responsibilities as a citizen, but acquires additional rights as well as responsibilities to the entire University community. They do not require the individual to be passive and silent. They do require recognition of how easily an academic community can be violated.


Applicability. The provisions of this Code apply to persons whose service to the University includes teaching, scholarship, librarianship, and academic administration. Such persons are referred to in the Code as “Academic Personnel.” References in the Code to “Faculty” include tenured members of the faculty, librarians, and persons whose service to the University may lead to tenure. Organization. This Code contains two major sections: first, a statement of rights and responsibilities; and second, a statement of enforcement procedures. The first section is divided into three subsections. Of these, the first subsection, in seven parts, is a general statement of the rights and responsibilities of Academic Personnel adapted from the “Statement of Professional Ethics” adopted as policy by the American Association of University Professors in April 1966. The second subsection consists of representative responsibilities assumed with academic employment at Indiana University. The third subsection consists of the rules of conduct outlined in the prevailing Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. It is assumed that academic personnel will accept without reservation those rules of conduct which are generally applicable within the University community and which are expressed at the moment within the student code. The second section is also divided into three subsections. The first subsection deals with initiation of complaints, the second with appropriate administrative actions, and the third with reviews of administrative action.


I. General Statements

Scholarship. A scholar recognizes a primary responsibility to seek and to state the truth without bias. Striving to improve scholarly competence, continuing always to keep abreast of knowledge of his or her discipline, the scholar exercises critical self discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge, and practices intellectual honesty. Although subsidiary interests may be followed, these must never seriously hamper or compromise freedom of inquiry. Teaching. A teacher encourages the pursuit of learning in students, holding before them the best scholarly standards of the discipline. Respecting students as individuals, the teacher seeks to establish a relationship of mutual trust and adheres to the proper role as intellectual guide and counselor. The teacher makes every effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that the evaluation of students’ scholastic performance reflects their true achievement, with reference to criteria appropriate to the field of study. Any exploitation of students for private advantage is rejected and their significant assistance is acknowledged. The teacher protects their academic freedom and serves as an example of this principle by assuring that each student and colleague is free to voice opinions openly and to exchange ideas free from interference.

Librarianship. A librarian in the academic community is responsible for the collection, dissemination and preservation of information and source materials and for services in support of the teaching, research and general learning functions of the University. A librarian instructs and assists in finding and evaluating information, wherever it may be located. A librarian is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn. A librarian is a member of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information for present and future generations, following the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association and its Library Bill of Rights.

Relations with Colleagues. As colleagues, academic personnel have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Such persons respect and defend the free inquiry of their associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, they show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge their academic debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. They accept their share of responsibility for the governance of the University.

Relations with Students. With regard to relations with students, the term “faculty” or “faculty member” means all those who teach and/or do research at the University including (but not limited to) tenured and tenure-track faculty, librarians, holders of research, lecturer, or clinical appointments, graduate students with teaching responsibilities, visiting and part-time faculty, and other instructional personnel including coaches, advisors, and counselors. The University’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in faculty/student relationships. Professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Actions of faculty members and students that harm this atmosphere undermine professionalism and hinder fulfillment of the University’s educational mission. Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their power. Those who abuse their power in such a context violate their duty to the University community.

Faculty members exercise power over students, whether in giving them praise or criticism, evaluating them, making recommendations for their further studies or their future employment, or conferring any other benefits on them. All amorous or sexual relationships between faculty members and students are unacceptable when the faculty member has any professional responsibility for the student. Such situations greatly increase the chances that the faculty member will abuse his or her power and sexually exploit the student. Voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamental asymmetric nature of the relationship. Moreover, other students and faculty may be affected by such unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member in a position to favor or advance one student’s interest at the expense of others and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors. Therefore, the University will view it as a violation of this Code of Academic Ethics if faculty members engage in amorous or sexual relations with students for whom they have professional responsibility, as defined in number 1 or 2 below, even when both parties have consented or appear to have consented to the relationship. Such professional responsibility encompasses both instructional and non-instructional contexts.

1. Relationships in the Instructional Context. A faculty member shall not have an amorous or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member or whose performance is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member.

2. Relationships outside the Instructional Context. A faculty member should be careful to distance himself or herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize a student with whom he or she has or has had an amorous or sexual relationship, even outside the instructional context, especially when the faculty member and student are in the same academic unit or in units that are allied academically.

Relation to the University. Indiana University is committed to the concept of academic freedom and recognizes that such freedom, accompanied by responsibility, attaches to all aspects of a teacher’s or librarian’s professional conduct. Within this context, each person observes the regulations of the University, and maintains the right to criticize and to seek revision and reform. A teacher or librarian determines the amount and character of work done outside the University with due regard to paramount responsibilities within it. When considering interruption or termination of service, the teacher or librarian recognizes the effect of the decision upon the program of the University and gives due notice. Above all, he or she strives to be an effective teacher, scholar, librarian, or administrator.

Relation to the Community. As members of the community, academic appointees have the rights and obligations of any citizen. They should measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to the University. When they speak or write as citizens, they are free from institutional censorship or discipline. At the same time, their positions as members of a university and of a learned profession impose special responsibilities. When they speak or act as private persons, they will make it clear that they are not speaking or acting for the University. They will also remember that the public may judge their profession and the University by their utterances and conduct, and they will take pains to be accurate and to exercise restraint.