In the pursuit of truth before God, faculty members are free to express, in their writing, speaking, teaching, and activities, their individual positions. While free to develop, change, and accept any academic position, the unique task of the institution requires that the ultimate positions of faculty members not be at variance with the basic theological stance of the community as set forth in the Statement of Faith and other official statements derived from it and approved by vote of the faculty and board. Fuller recognizes that as its faculty members pursue their respective disciplines, scholarship will create a healthy and dynamic tension which Fuller must encourage.
Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results within their fields of academic competence. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in their classrooms to address matters within the general subject area implied by the course title and description.
Faculty members are free as individuals and as citizens to speak and write about matters, whether or not the matters are directly related to theology. While Fuller will not limit individual expression in any respect, faculty members should avoid the impression that they are speaking for the seminary.
Faculty members have the freedom to entertain positions which stand in an uncertain relationship to our community's Statement of Faith, but each member must realize that the faculty as a whole, and not its individual faculty members, has the task of interpreting the Statement of Faith.
If the community finds that a given position is consonant with the Statement of Faith, the community has a responsibility to protect the academic freedom of the individuals involved against any attacks from the public or from some segment of the seminary constituency.
If a faculty member believes that a peer has separated from the theological community at Fuller by publicly advocating a position clearly at variance with the Statement of Faith and Fuller's unique academic task, the faculty member should first approach that colleague directly and privately for clarification. If this attempt is not successful, then the two faculty members should request the aid of their dean(s) within the community to attempt such clarification. If after faculty discussion a faculty member remains convinced that a position is correct, even though it is at variance with Fuller's theological stance, that member has the right to attempt to change the Statement of Faith. The process of change must follow the procedures established for that purpose in the seminary's Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
If attempts for such changes do not receive the community's support, however, Fuller expects that a faculty member will act with integrity and leave the community rather than act in opposition to the community's confessional stance. Any faculty colleague, however, does have the right to a full hearing and investigation by the Board of Trustees, according to the procedures stated in the seminary's Bylaws and Faculty Handbook, with the understanding that the outcome of such a process may still require a severance of the relationship for the sake and interests of both parties.
Students are not required to subscribe to the Statement of Faith and are free to learn and to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in the Fuller community. In their public expressions students and student organizations should make clear that they speak only for themselves.
Faculty members are responsible for safeguarding the academic freedom of their students to learn by encouraging free inquiry into controversial issues, presenting alternative viewpoints, refraining from undue influence of the process of learning, taking dissenting student opinion seriously, and offering a forum for discussion.