Code of Academic Ethics
The provisions of this Code apply to persons whose service to the University includes teaching, scholarship, librarianship, and academic administration. Such persons are referred to in the Code as “Academic Personnel.” References in the Code to “Faculty” include tenured members of the faculty, librarians, and persons whose service to the University may lead to tenure.
The central functions of an academic community are learning, teaching, and scholarship. They must be characterized by reasoned discourse, intellectual honesty, mutual respect, and openness to constructive change. By accepting membership in this community, an individual neither surrenders rights nor escapes fundamental responsibilities as a citizen, but acquires additional rights as well as responsibilities to the entire University community. They do not require the individual to be passive and silent. They do require recognition of how easily an academic community can be violated.
Organization. This Code contains two major sections: first, a statement of rights and responsibilities; and second, a statement of enforcement procedures. The first section is divided into three subsections. Of these, the first subsection, in seven parts, is a general statement of the rights and responsibilities of Academic Personnel adapted from the “Statement of Professional Ethics” adopted as policy by the American Association of University Professors in April 1966. The second subsection consists of representative responsibilities assumed with academic employment at Indiana University. The third subsection consists of the rules of conduct outlined in the prevailing Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. It is assumed that academic personnel will accept without reservation those rules of conduct which are generally applicable within the University community and which are expressed at the moment within the student code.
The second section is also divided into three subsections. The first subsection deals with initiation of complaints, the second with appropriate administrative actions, and the third with reviews of administrative action.
Scholarship. A scholar recognizes a primary responsibility to seek and to state the truth without bias. Striving to improve scholarly competence, continuing always to keep abreast of knowledge of his or her discipline, the scholar exercises critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge, and practices intellectual honesty. Although subsidiary interests may be followed, these must never seriously hamper or compromise freedom of inquiry.
Teaching. A teacher encourages the pursuit of learning in students, holding before them the best scholarly standards of the discipline. Respecting students as individuals, the teacher seeks to establish a relationship of mutual trust and adheres to the proper role as intellectual guide and counselor. The teacher makes every effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that the evaluation of students’ scholastic performance reflects their true achievement, with reference to criteria appropriate to the field of study. Any exploitation of students for private advantage is rejected and their significant assistance is acknowledged. The teacher protects their academic freedom and serves as an example of this principle by assuring that each student and colleague is free to voice opinions openly and to exchange ideas free from interference.
Librarianship. A librarian in the academic community is responsible for the collection, dissemination and preservation of information and source materials and for services in support of the teaching, research and general learning functions of the University. A librarian instructs and assists in finding and evaluating information, wherever it may be located. A librarian is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn. A librarian is a member of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information for present and future generations, following the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association and its Library Bill of Rights.
Relations with Colleagues. As colleagues, academic personnel have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Such persons respect and defend the free inquiry of their associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, they show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge their academic debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. They accept their share of responsibility for the governance of the University.
Relations with Students. With regard to relations with students, the term “faculty” or “faculty member” means all those who teach and/or do research at the University including (but not limited to) tenured and tenure-track faculty, librarians, holders of research, lecturer, or clinical appointments, graduate students with teaching responsibilities, visiting and part-time faculty, and other instructional personnel including coaches, advisors, and counselors.
The University’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in faculty/student relationships. Professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Actions of faculty members and students that harm this atmosphere undermine professionalism and hinder fulfillment of the University’s educational mission. Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their power. Those who abuse their power in such a context violate their duty to the University community.
Faculty members exercise power over students, whether in giving them praise or criticism, evaluating them, making recommendations for their further studies or their future employment, or conferring any other benefits on them. All amorous or sexual relationships between faculty members and students are unacceptable when the faculty member has any professional responsibility for the student. Such situations greatly increase the chances that the faculty member will abuse his or her power and sexually exploit the student. Voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamental asymmetric nature of the relationship. Moreover, other students and faculty may be affected by such unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member in a position to favor or advance one student’s interest at the expense of others and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors. (See quid pro quo sexual harassment in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, UA-03, definition of sexual harassment). Therefore, the University will view it as a violation of this Code of Academic Ethics if faculty members engage in amorous or sexual relations with students for whom they have professional responsibility, as defined in number 1 or 2 below, even when both parties have consented or appear to have consented to the relationship. Such professional responsibility encompasses both instructional and non-instructional contexts.
Relation to the University. Indiana University is committed to the concept of academic freedom and recognizes that such freedom, accompanied by responsibility, attaches to all aspects of a teacher’s or librarian’s professional conduct. Within this context, each person observes the regulations of the University, and maintains the right to criticize and to seek revision and reform. A teacher or librarian determines the amount and character of work done outside the University with due regard to paramount responsibilities within it. When considering interruption or termination of service, the teacher or librarian recognizes the effect of the decision upon the program of the University and gives due notice. Above all, he or she strives to be an effective teacher, scholar, librarian, or administrator.
Relation to the Community. As members of the community, academic appointees have the rights and obligations of any citizen. They should measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to the University. When they speak or write as citizens, they are free from institutional censorship or discipline. At the same time, their positions as members of a university and of a learned profession impose special responsibilities. When they speak or act as private persons, they will make it clear that they are not speaking or acting for the University. They will also remember that the public may judge their profession and the University by their utterances and conduct, and they will take pains to be accurate and to exercise restraint.
In addition to the preceding general statements of ethical performance within the academic profession, and Indiana University’s Principles of Ethical Conduct, there are specific responsibilities that devolve upon the academic appointee who accepts a position at Indiana University. Observance of such specific responsibilities as the following is also a component of academic ethics.
In retaining the rights to speak and act as citizens of the communities in which they dwell, academic personnel must assume as well the responsibilities which are incumbent upon the citizenship. Academic personnel, therefore, accept and adopt the provisions of the Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct pertaining to personal misconduct on University property (Part II, Section H), which is printed below.
Personal Misconduct on University Property
The university may discipline a student for the following acts of personal misconduct that occur on university property, including, but not limited to, academic and administration buildings, residence halls, athletic and recreational facilities, and other university-serviced property, such as sororities and fraternities:
Harassment, including sexual harassment, as defined in Part I (c) of the Code.
Any concerned person may initiate complaints about alleged violations of the Code of Academic Ethics. Such complaints should be brought to the attention of an appropriate chairperson or dean, or to the appropriate Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or his or her deputy; the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall provide for confidential representations regarding such violations. Charges of discriminatory practice may be referred also to the appropriate Affirmative Action Officer. Allegations of sexual misconduct should be reported to the University Title IX Coordinator or the appropriate campus Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
The line of administrative action in cases of alleged violation of academic ethics shall be the chairperson; the academic dean; the appropriate Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; the appropriate Chancellor/Provost; a Vice President, where appropriate; and the President. Subject to the substantive standards of University tenure policy and the procedural safeguards of the faculty institutions, sanctions appropriate to the offense should be applied by the academic administrators. Possible sanctions include the following: reprimand, consideration in establishing annual salary, consideration in promotion decisions, consideration in tenure decisions, retention of salary, termination of employment, and immediate dismissal.
Academic appointees affected by administrative action taken against them on grounds of violation of the Code of Ethics, whether or not the action resulted from proceedings provided in this Code, shall have such rights as are provided by the rules governing appeals to the Faculty Board of Review (or to the Associate Instructor Board of Review) of the appropriate campus. Appointees also have the rights of hearing and appeal provided by any other procedure of the University for the review of administrative action.
(University Faculty Council, November 3, 1970; Board of Trustees, December 19, 1970; University Faculty Council, November 30, 1976; February 11, 1986; February 11, 1992; October 3, 1996; April 27, 2004; April 12, 2005; April 28, 2009; Board of Trustees, December 13, 1996; June 24, 2005; June 12, 2009)
[Note: Some of these dates refer to changes in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.]
Changes to the Code of Academic Ethics were made to align with revisions to the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct (“Student Code”) that were approved by the UFC Executive Committee on September 22, 2015, as well as the Sexual Misconduct Policy that was approved by the University Faculty Council on February 24, 2015, and the Board of Trustees on March 1, 2015. The changes were sent to the Board of Trustees as an AAR and recorded in the February 2016 minutes.