One of the vital activities of a university is the critical examination of ideologies and institutions. It is essential that faculty members have the right to express their views responsibly without fear of censorship and penalty. The University defines academic freedom as:
The University is fully aware that adjunct faculty members must enjoy, in addition to academic freedom, the same civil liberties as other citizens. In the exercise of their civil liberties, adjunct faculty have the same obligation as full-time faculty to make clear that they are not representing the institution, its Board, or the Commonwealth of Virginia. All employees have an obligation to avoid any action which appears or purports to commit the institution to a position on any issue without appropriate approval. Decisions in such faculty personnel actions as adjunct appointment(s) will not be affected by non-academic considerations.
Each college, school and institute is required to have a standing committee charged to hear grievances. To file a grievance, one should first contact the chair or appropriate academic level administrator. If that person is the subject of the grievance, then contact the person’s immediate supervisor.
Adjunct faculty have access to their local academic unit grievance committee. These committees hear grievances concerning (i) alleged violations of academic freedom; (ii) unilateral changes to the conditions of employment covered by the signed contract or letter of appointment; and (iii) charges of unprofessional or unethical conduct brought by one faculty member against another. These committees are particularly charged to be alert to instances of inequitable treatment. In cases alleging discrimination in violation of federal or state law or University regulations, the committee must consult the University Equity Office early in the process.
Goverance responsibilies belong primarily to persons holding tenured or probationary appointments in that department. Local and collegiate units may also choose to extend voting rights to other faculty who are employed in that department. Adjunct faculty interested in participating in local governance should check with their local department administrator to determine the extent of their voting rights.