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ARTICLE I. The Faculty.

Section 1. Membership in the Faculty.  Persons who hold the academic rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor in an academic department or equivalent unit at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and such academic staff members as may be designated by the department or equivalent unit, the Chancellor, and the Faculty Senate following procedures set forth in the operating rules of the university, will be considered faculty members of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Faculty members on leave of absence and faculty on lay-off, subject to appropriate Wisconsin statutes, shall be accorded full university governance rights under this constitution, providing they are “present” to vote in the fashion (e.g., on a paper ballot or via electronic submission) prescribed for the vote.

Section 2. Academic Freedom and Tenure.  The purpose of this section is to promote (1) understanding and support of academic freedom and tenure and (2) agreement upon procedures to ensure that academic freedom and tenure are protected at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

A.   Institutions of higher education exist for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual faculty member or the institution. The common good depends upon the free search for and expression of truth.

B.    Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to teaching, learning, research, and creative activity. Academic freedom is fundamental for the protection of the rights of faculty members in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. Faculty members are entitled to full freedom of discussion in the classroom, and are expected to exercise professional judgment about the relevance of material introduced to the subject of the course. Academic freedom in research and creative activity is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research and creative activities and in publication/presentation of the results. These rights are subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties.

C.  Academic freedom carries with it duties correlative with rights. The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When speaking or writing as a citizen, faculty members should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their position in the community imposes special obligation. As a person of learning and an educational officer, faculty members should remember that the public may judge the profession and the institution by an individual's utterances. Hence the faculty member should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he or she is not a spokes-person for the institution.

D.  It is a responsibility of the Faculty Senate to protect academic freedom in teaching, learning, research, and extramural activities.

E.   Tenure is a means to certain ends: (1) academic freedom in teaching, learning, and research,  and extramural activities; and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to qualified individuals. Academic freedom and economic security are indispensable to the success of an institution of higher education in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society. Tenure, therefore, is a necessary component of the institution.

Section 3. Equal Opportunity.  The Faculty of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is committed to a policy of fairness and equal opportunity for all. A diverse student body, faculty, and staff that reflects the variety and pluralism of society is desired and encouraged. Moreover, equal access to benefits, programs, services, employment, and educational opportunities is assured for all without regard to sex, color, marital or parental status, race, age, national origin, handicap, or sexual preference/ identity.

Section 4. Powers and Responsibilities of the Faculty.  The Faculty of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the Board of Regents, the President, and the Chancellor, and recognizing student rights, shall be vested with responsibility for the immediate governance of this institution and shall actively participate in institutional policy development. As such, the faculty shall have the primary responsibility for academic and educational activities and faculty personnel matters. The word primary shall be defined as both first and principal, but not exclusive. The faculty shall have the right to determine its own faculty organizational structure and to select representatives to participate in institutional shared governance.

Section 5. Administrative Review.  Faculty decisions or recommendations concerning academic and educational activities and faculty personnel matters are transmitted in writing to the Chancellor. The Chancellor, recognizing the academic tradition of concurring with a clear faculty judgment in matters of primary faculty responsibility, shall as a matter of collegiality respond in writing, giving reasons, providing that such communication shall not be prohibited by law or System policy. Nothing in this section shall impede the authority of the Chancellor, established by law and System policy, to review faculty decisions on such matters and to make independent judgments regarding them; and nothing in this section shall prohibit appropriate consultation.

Section 6. Faculty Referenda.  By two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate, any policy matter related to the powers and responsibilities of the faculty as stated in Article I, Section 4 above, may be referred to the whole faculty for decision. A referendum will also be held if one-tenth of the faculty, as defined in Article I as of Opening Day of the academic year (excluding those with limited appointments) petitions the Faculty Senate President to call for such a referendum. The Senate will draft the referendum proposal and will ordinarily distribute it to the faculty one month prior to the time at which a vote on the referendum is to be taken. At least one general faculty meeting, called by the Faculty Senate President, will be held on the matter for discussion and exchange of information. The referendum vote will be by secret ballot. A majority of affirmative votes of eligible voters who cast ballots is required for passage of a referendum. Eligible voters for faculty referenda will be members of the faculty as defined in Article I (excluding those with limited appointment). The appropriate Faculty Senate committee will count the ballots. The Faculty Senate President will announce the results to the faculty.

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