Although Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU) has a religious affiliation—that is, the University is embedded in the broader Buddhist institution of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association—academic freedom is one of its central tenets. Indeed, all aspects of DRBU’s pedagogical design and curriculum center on one goal: that each student develops the capacity to be an independent thinker. A core assumption underlying the University’s teaching methodology is that the text, instructor, and student form a triangular relationship of inquiry in which none of the three may be presumed as “the measure of all things.” Rather, “authority” is posited to emerge through the interaction among the three.
The context of the school is unmistakably Buddhist. In the course of a student’s studies and campus life, he or she will encounter Buddhist ideas and practices. It is up to the student, however, to decide which, if any, of these to hold and accept. In the classroom, Buddhist ideas are held to the same level of questioning and scrutiny as any others. Students are free, and explicitly encouraged, to examine and to consider all the views they encounter, including their own. No student is subject to any pressure, overt or otherwise, to subscribe to a particular ideology.
Professors are citizens, members of a learned profession, and members of the University community. When they speak or write as citizens, they shall be free from DRBU censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and teachers, they should remember that the public may judge their professions and DRBU by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for DRBU. Professors are free to hold any view and are not subject to any pressure, overt or otherwise, to subscribe to a particular ideology.
Any member of the University community, including a professor or a student, who feels that he or she has endured a grievable act or acts related to academic freedom should follow the appropriate grievance procedure outlined on page 72 of the catalog and in section eight of the Faculty Governance Manual.