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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 4 - Personnel General
Publication Date: January 1, 1991
Responsible Executive: VP for Business Affairs

4.02 Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Faculty members of The University of Texas System are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties.

  2. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they are expected not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to the subject.

  3. UT System faculty members are citizens, members of learned professions, and officers of educational institutions supported by the state. When they speak or write as citizens, faculty members should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As persons of learning and educational officers, faculty members should remember that the public may judge their profession and institution by their utterances. Hence, faculty members should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make it plain that they are not institutional spokespersons. As members of the staff of a state institution of higher education, faculty members should refrain from involving the UT System or any of its component institutions in partisan politics.

  4. The UT System Board of Regents recognizes and affirms the right of a member of the faculty or staff to participate in political activities so long as such political activities do not interfere with the discharge of the duties and responsibilities that the faculty members owe to the System or any of its component institutions and so long as such political activities do not involve the System or its component institutions in partisan politics. With the interest of the System or its component institutions being given first consideration, a leave of absence without pay may, but need not be granted to a member of the faculty or staff. However, it would be inappropriate for a leave of absence without pay to be granted primarily to permit a member of the faculty or staff of the System or its component institutions to participate in political activity, including, but not limited to, being a candidate for political office, holding a political office, or directing the political campaign of another person seeking a political office. Therefore, if a member of the faculty or staff wishes to engage in political activity that interferes with the discharge of the duties and responsibilities that he or she owes to the System or any of its component institutions, the individual should voluntarily terminate his or her employment by the university. On the other hand, if the faculty or staff member does not voluntarily terminate his or her employment by the university and if the faculty or staff member's superior officer, such as the President, the Chancellor, or the Board, finds that the faculty or staff member's political activity does, in fact, interfere with the discharge of the duties and responsibilities that he or she owes to the System or any of its component institutions, the President, the Chancellor, or the Board shall terminate his or her employment by the university.

  5. A complete statement of the rights and responsibilities of the faculty member is found in the UT System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter III, Subsection 7.

Editorial Amendment

Issued August 19, 2002