Freedom of Artistic Expression

Statement on the Freedom of Artistic Expression
Adopted October 4, 1989

The University's Policy on the Free Exchange of Ideas states that, "An abiding commitment to preserving and enhancing freedom of speech, thought, inquiry and artistic expression is deeply rooted in the history of The New School." The University's responsibility for and dedication to securing the conditions in which freedom of expression can flourish extend to all forms of artistic expression, including the fine arts, design, literature, and the performance of drama, music and dance.

The opportunity to display or perform works of art at the University is made available through several academic processes and procedures in which faculty members and other duly appointed individuals exercise their best professional judgment. Among these procedures is the selection of: 1) student art work by faculty, 2) selection of gallery shows by gallery committees, 3) selection of works of art by the Committee on the University Art Collection, and 4) display or performance as part of an approved course curriculum. Such authorized display or performance, regardless of how unpopular the work might be, must be unhindered and free from coercion. Members of the University community and guests must reflect in their actions a respect for the right to communicate ideas artistically and must refrain from any act that would cause that right to be abridged. At the same time, the University recognizes that the right of artists to exhibit or perform does not preclude the right of others to take exception to particular works of art. However, this latter right must be exercised in ways that do not prevent a work of art from being seen and must not involve any form of intimidation, defacement, or physical violence. The University rejects the claim of any individual or outside agency to dictate on the appropriateness or acceptability of the display or performance of any work of art in its facilities or as part of its educational programs.

As university citizens, faculty have special obligations that derive from membership in a community of scholars. While defending freedom of speech, they show respect for the opinions of others. They also accept a fair share of responsibility for institutional governance to contribute to the larger New School community.

Faculty must seek above all to be effective teachers, scholars, and practitioners.  Although they observe the stated policies of the institution, provided they do not violate academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Consistent with university policies, they determine the amount and character of the work they do outside their institution with due regard to their paramount responsibilities within it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, they recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions. As members of their community, faculty have the rights and obligations of any citizen of the United States of America. They measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression that they speak or act for their school or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health, integrity, and efficacy, faculty have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

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