Policies regarding academic freedom and political advocacy in the classroom

To: UCSC Instructional Community

From: Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Dear Instructional Community,

I write today to draw attention, and provide references, to University of California policy regarding academic freedom and political advocacy in the classroom and other instructional spaces. In an overall context that provides instructors with considerable academic freedom, University policy imposes limits on using the classroom and courses of instruction for  political advocacy. These University policy limits co-exist with the free speech rights all individuals have when acting as private citizens. 

The principal policies that apply to these matters are (references to the URLs are below this message):

Centrally, I want to call your attention to Regents’ Policy 2301, which applies to all members of the University instructional community, in its prohibition of canceling a class session for the purpose of encouraging students to participate in a protest or rally.

I want to highlight several prohibitions in these policies:

  • significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course (APM 015, Section II, A.1.b and Section B4(b) of Unit 18 agreement);
  • use of the position or powers of a faculty member to coerce the judgment or conscience of a student or to cause harm to a student for arbitrary or personal reasons (APM 015, Section II, A.5 and Section B4(h) of Unit 18 agreement); and
  • misuse of the classroom by allowing it to be used for political indoctrination, for purposes other than those for which the course was constituted, or for providing grades without commensurate and appropriate student achievement (Regents’ Policy 2301).

In addition,

  • Regents’ Policy 2301 stipulates “the right of students to have their classes held on the regularly scheduled basis and to be taught by the instructor whose responsibility it is to teach the course in question is to be upheld”; and
  • APM 015, Part II, A.1.c. defines “significant failure to adhere, without legitimate reason, to the rules of the faculty in the conduct of courses, to meet class, to keep office hours, or to hold examinations as scheduled” to be a violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct.

I also want to remind all in our campus community of our Principles of Community and of the importance of ensuring that students are not made to feel intimidated, threatened, and/or excluded in their classes. 

It is our collective responsibility to foster a safe and welcoming learning, living, and working environment while also promoting the principles of free expression and academic freedom. 

Instructors who have questions concerning permissible or impermissible actions should discuss them with their department chair or dean.




Lori Kletzer

Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor


Relevant URLs: The URLs for the reference policies are