Faculty and staff are often involved with the presentation of statements or articles of opinion that may or may not be related to their professional duties at the University. When these are presented to an audience or readership unaffiliated with this University, the use of a University title, University letterhead or any other indicator of University affiliation may be misleading. It is expected that the employee's University affiliation will appear on professional work related to his or her academic field, especially when presented in a professional setting. It is necessary, however, for each individual to use great care to avoid confusion on the part of his or her audience between his or her personal views and statements of University policy. This is especially true in matters of significant public controversy in which the audience may believe that the employee is expressing the judgment of the University community. One device that may suffice to avoid confusion in some cases is a conspicuous disclaimer to the effect that the employee is expressing a private view and does not speak for or on behalf of the University. Such caution is essential to protect the community against undesirable imputation of homogeneity, rare in any profession and especially detrimental to the essence of academic freedom and the rights of our colleagues. It is essential to preserve the independence, reputation, and integrity of us all and to provide for the diversity of legitimate opinion that is the hallmark of a community of scholars which values and protects independence of mind.
University policy on important matters usually requires prior development through extensive consultation involving established processes within the University. No one should purport to speak for the University unless the stand to be taken fairly represents official University policy. University titles, affiliation, and stationery should therefore be used in a fashion that contributes to protecting these principles, and positive steps should be taken to ensure that personal judgment or opinion is not taken as University policy.
For additional information, refer to Academic Responsibilities and Professional Conduct AC 03 (formerly 02-04-02).