​Policy on Academic Freedom and Student Grievances

The College of Dental Medicine (CDM) affirms the following points regarding academic freedom and student grievance procedures:

  1. Columbia University is an academic community committed to fostering intellectual inquiry in a climate of academic freedom and integrity. Its members -- students and faculty alike -- are expected to uphold these principles and exhibit tolerance and respect for others. The University Statutes and the general policies of the University describe the roles and responsibilities of faculty in their teaching and research. These policies can be found in the Faculty Handbook.
  2. We hereby uphold the principles of academic freedom as amended from Part II, Section VII of the University Charter and Statutes.
    1. Academic freedom implies that all officers of instruction and all students are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects;
    2. faculty and students are entitled to freedom of research and in the submission and publication of its results;
    3. faculty may not be penalized by the University for expression of opinions or associations in their private or civic capacity;
    4. and students may not be penalized by faculty or the University administration for expression of opinions or associations in their private or civic capacity.
  3. Issues that are grievable under these procedures include:
    1. Failure to respect the opinions of students in an instructional setting;
    2. Misuse of faculty authority to promote a political or social cause within an instructional setting; and
    3. Personal conduct in the classroom or another instructional setting that adversely affects the learning environment.
  4. Primary responsibility for addressing students’ concerns about their educational experience and relationships with faculty rests with the individual Colleges due to the size and complexity of the University. Each College has developed its own procedures for responding to those concerns.
  5. We promise to uphold and support the following procedures upheld by the University regarding student grievances.
    1. If the faculty member involved holds an appointment in the College of Dental Medicine, the student may use the procedures described in this statement to address the issues listed below. If the faculty member belongs to another College, students must use its procedures. They may, however ask for help from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in identifying and understanding the appropriate procedures (understanding that reporting requirements will need to be upheld).
    2. Complaints against the College’s faculty that allege scientific or scholarly misconduct are also evaluated using other procedures. These may be contained in the Statement on Professional Ethics and Faculty Obligations and Guidelines for Review of Professional Misconduct, available in the Faculty Handbook.
    3. If the student has a concern about a faculty member, the student should directly approach that professor. If the student feels the grievance cannot be settled directly with the professor, the student may seek the advice and or mediation of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
    4. If the student feels the grievance has not been addressed, the student may secondarily request the involvement of Dean for Academic Affairs if the matter is not resolved.