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The central functions of an academic community are learning, teaching research 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 his right nor escapes his fundamental responsibilities as a citizen, but acquires additional rights as well as responsibilities to the whole University community. They do not require him to be silent and passive. But they do require him to see how easily an academic community can be violated, knowingly or unknowingly--whether by actual violence of by lack of responsiveness to widely perceived needs for change; whether by impatience or by insensitivity; or by failure in a process of decision to make sufficient effort to consult those who have to live with the results of the decision.
We believe it timely to state explicity what certain of these rights and responsibilities are and to establish procedures for their protection and enforcement. The present formulation is an interim statement, limited to activities that touch on the essential functions of a university. We recognize the need to formulate, in the near future a document that will emerge from the widest discussion within and will reflect a wide consensus of all members of the Harvard community. This statement shall apply equally to students, to officers of instruction, and to officers of administration.
All individuals or groups within the University community have the right to express, advocate and publicize their opinions. They also have the right to press by appropriate means for action on any matter on which they believe that the University can and should act, and they have the right to be given a full and fair hearing and prompt response. To be appropriate the means must respect both the need to preserve the essential commitment of the University and the right of individual or collective expression of opinion or dissent. We have taken and will continue to take measures aimed both at dealing with issues and grievances raised by members of the community and at improving and broadening the procedures by which such matters can be resolved and decisions made. We welcome participation of all members of the community in this endeavor.
We regard the following activities as unacceptable because they would prevent or impede the performance of the essential tasks of the University and are incompatible with the shared purposes of an academic community:
a. violence against any member or guest of the University community;
b. deliberate interference with academic freedom and freedom of speech (including not only disruption of a class but also interference with the freedom of any speaker invited by any section of the University community to express his views);
c. theft or willful destruction of University property or of the property of members of the University;
d. forcible interference with the freedom of movement of any member or guest of the University;
e. obstruction of the normal processes and activities essential to the functions of the University community.
Any such activity shall subject the violator to discipline by an appropriate agent.
In case of any violation of any of the subparagraphs a through e by a student, he shall be subject to appropriate discipline within the full range of possible disciplinary measures by the Faculty or by a committee or agent to which the Faculty may have delegated disciplinary power. Appropriate discipline for a student who violates subparagraph a will ordinarily be expulsion, dismissal, separation or requirement to withdraw. In cases of violations of subparagraphs c, d, and e, discipline will ordinarily be initiated upon complaint by a member of the University community adversely affected, or on a determination of probable cause by a committee or agent to which the Faculty may have delegated disciplinary power.
In cases of violation of any of the subparagraphs a through e, a student found to be engaging in unacceptable activities may be warned to stop. If, despite the warning, the student persists in the unacceptable activity, he may be suspended summarily from the University by a committee or agent to which the Faculty may have delegated disciplinary power, pending completion of a regular disciplinary proceeding.
Occasions may arise that may require the appropriate University authorities to use other proper means to control or terminate unacceptable activities. It is the sense of the Faculty that the appropriate authorities should attempt whenever possible to deal such occasions through the disciplinary measures described in the preceding paragraphs. The Faculty also urges that appropriate University authorities consult with representative student and faculty bodies to the maximum extent practicable in devising and implementing ways to invoke other proper means of control.
While this Interim Statement is in effect, the disciplinary authority over students engaging in the activities listed above shall be delegated to the Committee of Fifteen or a designated successor. The power of summary suspension shall be delegated jointly to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Committee of Fifteen (or its designated successor) who are authorized to establish appropriate working arrangements to give effect to this power.
We further affirm that an officer of instruction of administration two engages in the unacceptable activities listed above should also be considered subject to discipline by the appropriate agencies of the University.
That the Faculty of Arts and Sciences approves the Interim Statement of Rights and Responsibilities for the College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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