The University is, by tradition and definition, an autonomous center of learning and research devoted to examining, producing, disseminating and transmitting knowledge for the public good. The University's obligation to society and to the world community is to ensure scientific integrity and scholarly quality of education. To fulfill this obligation, its research and teaching must be "morally and intellectually independent of all political authority and economic power," as was expressly set forth in the "Magna Charta Universitatum" signed by the Rectors of 388 universities from Europe and beyond in Bologna in 1988.
With these universal principles in mind, the Board of Trustees, faculty and administration of Sabancı University jointly take responsibility for assuring fullest protection of freedom of inquiry, thought, and expression. Sabancı University's commitment to academic freedom finds expression as follows:
- All members of the University community involved in the practice of dissemination of knowledge are entitled to freedom in the conduct of their teaching in the classroom, of their research on or off campus, and in the publication, discussion and interpretation of research results.
- The faculty and administration of Sabancı University are responsible for protecting the right of each member of Sabancı University to artistic expression or to freely expressing his or her personal scholarly opinion.
- The University does not attempt to influence or control the personal opinion or public expression of that opinion of any member of the University community.
- The University respects the expression of opinion and choice of association of members of the University community in their private, civic capacity.
The right to academic freedom carries with it the duty to use that freedom in:
- Commitment to ethical obligations and responsibilities to the University community and to one's profession.
- Commitment to excellence, innovation, and to advancing the frontiers of knowledge in teaching and research at an individual level and in a collaborative spirit.
- Making a clear distinction between one's responsibility to the University and one's rights as an individual, and making sure that the expression of views does not implicate or commit the University in any way.
Sabancı University started working on a position statement on Academic Freedom in May 2002. During the initial stage of preparation of the position statement, over 30 web sites of various universities and university associations were visited, and the varying approaches of these institutions were compiled. These texts were subjected to a meticulous screening process; as a result of which, a 32-page file was composed and presented to the Deans. Each Dean prepared his/her own Academic Freedom text. A committee of one academician from each faculty then worked on these texts, and the attached policy statement took shape. This text was presented to and approved by the Board of Trustees on December 23rd, 2002.