Statement on Academic Responsibility and Respect for Persons

Vassar College values freedom of expression and supports deep engagement in and equitable access to teaching, learning, scholarly research, and artistic endeavor. The College is committed to the pursuit of knowledge, freedom of inquiry, and informed, robust, and inclusive debate. Vassar’s faculty and students may engage with an array of disciplines and issues and are free to explore contested ideas and political positions. Our community welcomes forms of dissent and protest that acknowledge and encourage the expression of different perspectives.

The College recognizes the legal limits to academic freedom and free expression. Unlawful conduct, such as defamation and the incitement of violence, will not be tolerated. As a private institution, Vassar is a voluntary association of persons who share a responsibility to respect the rights, dignity, and integrity of all community members and guests. In addition to adhering to federal and state laws, all community members and guests are expected to abide by Vassar’s governing principles when engaging with one another. Abusive or bullying behavior has no place in this environment.

Membership in an intentional learning community also calls for a spirit of generosity and  the ability to question our own assumptions. The College thus urges individuals to approach one another as partners in a learning process that facilitates the creation of knowledge, while fostering a rich intellectual and cultural environment in which all are empowered to thrive. Only a community that honors freedom of expression, different points of view, and mutual interdependence can serve the objectives of a liberal arts education and the needs of the complex, pluralistic society of which Vassar is a part.

November 18, 2020