Academic Freedom and the Inclusive and Equitable Classroom

University of South Florida Libraries and Academic Freedom

The primary responsibilities of a university library are to support the curriculum and to maintain resources for faculty and student research, publication, and development. 

 The USF Libraries support the academic and professional endeavors of faculty, students, and staff across three USF campuses and provide access to resources that facilitate active engagement with an expansive array of topics, subjects, and perspectives.  As faculty and students comprise our largest and most immediate user audiences, resources collected and made accessible by the USF Libraries are managed in concert with the needs and interests of these populations. USF faculty and students foster innovation and intellectual discourse and require equitable access to information. The resources we provide directly support both faculty and student success. Our Collection management guidelines can be found here:

 USF Libraries' collections are developed and managed in accordance with the policies, procedures, guidelines, and principles of the American Library Association (ALA), Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Society of American Archivists (SAA), and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the ACRL. Our collection management guidelines align with  statements published by these groups, and we strive to uphold the values of our leading professional organizations in the conduct of our work. For these reasons, collection managers hold professional degrees and certifications recognized by these organizations and work across library units to identify and select for acquisition the resources needed for the USF community. Decisions to remove materials from the libraries' collections are based on professional assessment and rely on non-biased evaluations of both condition and use. 

Specific collections may be administered according to the guiding principles of other organizations, such as the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). YALSA believes in the importance of "representational diversity" and champions resources that equitably and inclusively reflect and serve marginalized communities. USF is ranked in the top 10% of overall diversity and in the top 15% of racial-ethnic diversity. Library collections that address and speak to these communities are an important part of contributing to the University's diversity initiatives and ensuring equitable and inclusive support of faculty and students in these categories.  


United Faculty of Florida, University of South Florida Collective Bargaining Agreement

Every full time faculty member (including adjunct faculty) is protected by the UFF-USF Collective Bargaining Agreement which acts as the contract between all in-unit faculty and the university. More information can be found here. In-unit faculty do not have to be active members of the union to be protected by the CBA. The CBA can be found here. 

Article 5 in the CBA states: 

Academic  Freedom  and Responsibility

5.1      The  University  of  South  Florida  affirms  the  principles  of  academic  freedom  and responsibility,  which  are  rooted  in  a  conception  of  the  University  as  a  community  of scholars  united  in  the  pursuit  of  truth  and  wisdom  in  an  atmosphere  of  tolerance  and freedom.

5.2      Academic  Freedom  is  the  freedom  of  an  employee  to  discuss  all  relevant  matters in  the  classroom,  to  explore  all  avenues  of  scholarship,  research,  and  creative expression,  to  speak  freely  on  all  matters  of  university  governance,  and  to  speak,  write, or act  as  an  individual,  all  without  institutional  discipline  or restraint.

5.3      On  the  part  of  an  employee,  Academic  Responsibility  implies  the  honest performance  of  academic  duties  and  obligations,  the  commitment  to  support  the responsible  exercise  of  freedom  by  others,  and  the  candor  to  make  it  clear  that  the individual,  while  he  or  she  may  be  freely  identified  as  an  employee  of  the  University, he/she  is not  speaking  as a  representative  of  the  University  in  matters of  public interest.

5.4      On  the  part  of  the  Administration,  Academic  Responsibility  implies  a  commitment actively  to  foster  within  the  University  a  climate  favorable  to  responsible  exercise  of freedom,  by  adherence  to  principles  of  shared  governance,  which  require  that  in  the development  of  academic  policies  and  processes,  the  professional  judgments  of employees are  of  primary  importance.