Montana State University Faculty Senate’s public comment regarding the March 2019 draft of Northwest Commission on Colleges and University’s 2020 Accreditation Standards:

We, the Faculty Senate of Montana State University, write to you with a request to amend the draft 2020 Standards for Accreditation to reintroduce standards pertaining to academic freedom and those that support institutional bodies and practices of shared governance. Academic freedom is the foundation of any institution that promises robust intellectual, artistic, and scientific inquiry and growth. Free thought is essential to a free society. Indeed, the Montana Board of Regents endorse the 1940 AAUP statement on the principles of academic freedom and tenure and this statement’s language has been included by Faculty at Montana State University within their Faculty Handbook. The erasure of these standards poses a threat to faculty participation in decision making across the region. The inclusion of a shared-governance model that gives faculty important, though not exclusive, authority over academic matters is an essential component of academic freedom. The Faculty Senate of Montana State University strongly urge you to explicitly include faculty participation in the standards pertaining to institutional governance and reintroduce the standards pertaining to academic freedom.

Unanimously endorsed by the Montana State University Faculty Senate March 27, 2019 and submitted as public comment on March 29, 2019.