5100 Intellectual Freedom

Policy Type: 

Intellectual freedom at the College is guarded as a vital right of humankind, Henry Ford College, in educating adults for full participation as citizens has an obligation to encourage free discussion and inquiry in the pursuit of truth. Recognizing that only in the free exchange of ideas can the maximum potential of any education institution be reached, the faculty and students are urged to study any and all issues and problems. Consistent with this belief, the following principles are held by the Board of Trustees:

  1. Free discussion is a right extended to thoughtful citizens, but no one has the right to abuse this freedom by advocating overthrow of the government by force.

  2. A free society functions efficiently only if its citizens have the right to discuss, to debate, and to disagree constructively.

  3. An educated citizenry, fully aware of all the evidence, is best able to preserve the valuable heritage of American democratic institutions.

  4. The College has an obligation to the community to promote healthy discussion as an educative force.

  5. The American way of life is attractive enough and its institutions sturdy enough to stand comparison with any which exist in any culture.

  6. The truth prevails in the marketplace of ideas.

Consistent with these principles and within the framework of the orderly processes of our democratic constitutional society, the faculty have freedom to consider all issues which contribute to the development of the students. The criteria to be followed in selecting issues for study are as follows:

  1. The issue should contribute to the prescribed course of study and be consistent with the general educational objectives of the College.

  2. The issue should be of sufficient interest to encourage participation by the students.

  3. The issue should provide opportunity for critical thinking, tolerance, and understanding of conflicting points of view.

  4. The issue should be one about which sufficient information is available to allow for discussion and evaluation on a factual and reasonable basis.

Pursuant to these criteria, presentation in open forum of speakers with varying points of view on current issues, some of which may be controversial, may be undertaken by the Board of Trustees and administration in fulfilling their obligation as an educative force in the community. In such a forum, any program involving an issue or a person deemed to be controversial or extreme will follow the pattern of joint discussion, care being taken to insure a balanced presentation.

If, in the opinion of the Board and administration, certain activities will endanger the lives and property of individuals, approval of the use of College facilities may be withheld.

Adopted Date: 
Monday, February 20, 1995
Board Approved