TEMPE, AZ, May 27, 2020 — On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Maricopa County Community College District Interim Chancellor, Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, announced an independent investigation into Scottsdale Community College’s response to controversy that surfaced after quiz questions from a World Politics course were posted on social media, amid concerns about how to appropriately address the student’s concerns and the faculty member’s rights. The final report and associated appendix were delivered to the Interim Chancellor on May 26, 2020.
Dr. Gonzales will take the appropriate time to consider the full report and make a determination on the way forward with the best interest of the System in mind.
“The core function of education is to prepare students to engage critically with the world around them. Often, that means addressing difficult and contentious topics, even when doing so may be uncomfortable," said Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “The Maricopa Community Colleges strive to create an environment of respectful engagement where students and faculty can express their own views and learn from others, where all members of the community are welcome and the utmost freedom of inquiry is encouraged.”
On May 11, Dr. Gonzales also announced the formation of the Committee on Academic Freedom, to be led by MCCCD Provost Karla Fisher, to champion academic freedom education and training and to resolve academic freedom disputes in the hope of ensuring this fundamental academic value is better understood and realized alongside our longstanding commitment to the value of inclusion.
That committee has already been established and held their first meeting on May 21. The committee’s purpose is to convene a small standing body of respected colleagues from the Residential Faculty and Administration for the purpose of firmly establishing academic freedom at the Maricopa Community Colleges.
In addition to the core committee, an Academic Freedom Advisory Council will be established to engage additional faculty members and staff in functional areas that influence and are influenced by academic freedom discussions and practice, such as Information Technology Services, Human Resources, and so forth.
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About the Maricopa Community Colleges
The Maricopa County Community College District includes 10 regionally-accredited colleges - Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale and South Mountain serving more than 200,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates and university transfer programs.