Thursday, March 09, 2006

SMC Nondiscrimination and Academic Freedom

Sometimes Santa Monica College's staff, faculty, and administration need to be reminded of their written policies concerning their student body. This is straight from SMC's online catalog for the 2005 to 2006 academic year. Since the Academy of Entertainment and Technology is a satellite campus, these statements of nondiscrimination and academic freedom apply equally to the vocational students who study under its career umbrella.


Santa Monica College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, telephone: (415) 506-0234. This institutional accrediting body is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the US Department of Education.


Santa Monica College continuously strives to foster a work and learning environment that welcomes and supports a diverse student body and staff reflective of our pluralistic society. The College is committed to equal opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, status as a Vietnam-era veteran, sexual orientation, or marital status for admission to the College, enrollment in classes, student services, financial aid, and employment, in accordance with provisions of Title VI and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112).

It is crucial that students, staff, and all others associated with the College understand the importance of reporting concerns about possible violations of this policy. The College’s commitment to equal opportunity demands full investigation of possible violations and an opportunity for a fair and impartial hearing on any matter relating to these laws and policies.

Any person seeking information concerning these laws and policies or claiming grievance because of alleged violations of the laws listed above should contact:

• SMC Human Resources Office, regarding any complaint of unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual discrimination—(310) 434-4415; office located on the second floor of the SMC Administration Building, 2714 Pico Blvd.; or

• Sandi Burnett, ADA/504 Compliance Officer, regarding disability discrimination complaints—(310) 434-4442; office will move from PE 104 to Room 103 of the Admissions/Student Services Complex, but date was not confirmed at press time, so call ahead to verify location.

All grievances will be reviewed in terms of Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, and Section 504 law, and persons involved will be advised of the provisions of the law and their legal rights. If normal channels are not available or fail to meet legal requirements, the necessary action will be initiated. A record of all Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, and Section 504 grievances will be maintained, and the general nature of such grievances and progress toward their resolution will be reported to the Affirmative Action Committee.


Santa Monica College’s Board of Trustees adopted the following on December 4, 2001, as Board Policy 5210:

Academic freedom is essential not only to examine controversial issues in an objective manner in the classroom, but also to insure access to information sources required for study of such issues. The intellectual search for transmission of knowledge should go forward in an atmosphere free from fear of reprisal, while providing opportunities for critical thinking and understanding of conflicting viewpoints. In order that special interests or conflicting public opinion not impede the educational process, instructors and students must be free to investigate, to form conclusions, and to express judgments and opinions. Academic freedom also includes the right to constructively criticize College policies without fear of retribution.

Academic freedom carries with it several responsibilities. Faculty members must strive for factual accuracy and show restraint in dealing with topics outside their area of expertise. While showing respect for the opinions of others, the instructor should, after impartial examination of the evidence, present the conclusions to which the evidence points. Selective omission of available data would not be in keeping with academic responsibility. Promotion of a partisan point of view to a captive audience would be equally unsuitable.

Members of the faculty, administration, College staff, and student body should feel free to speak in public forums or write “Letters to the Editor” and write publicly without institutional censorship, as long as they indicate they are not acting as institutional spokespersons. The College has a responsibility to society to defend and maintain academic freedom to insure that educational goals can be achieved and that all fields of knowledge can be studied, discussed, and interpreted in an objective and scholarly manner.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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