The University of Maryland School of Law regards academic freedom as essential to our mission and core values. Our commitment to academic freedom extends to all members of the law school community. We recognize the need for academic freedom for students and teachers, in their, at times overlapping, roles as scholars, educators, clinicians, administrators and librarians. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in the classroom is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom of learning. We also endorse the "Statement of the Association of American Law Schools in Support of Academic Freedom for Clinical Faculty," which affirms that "academic freedom is critical to achieving the objectives of clinical legal education and that the principle of academic freedom applies equally to clinical law faculty." We also believe that academic freedom is central to our core commitment to the pursuit of diversity as a source of richness within our faculty, student body and the legal profession as a whole. Finally, we endorse the 1995 declaration of the American Association for University Professors, which declares, "Academic freedom is indispensable to librarians, because they are trustees of knowledge with the responsibility of ensuring the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn."
(Approved by the Faculty Council: November 2003; Revised by the Faculty Council: November 4, 2010)
The American Bar Association and the University of Maryland School of Law require regular and punctual attendance by students. Regular attendance is presumed to mean at least 80% of the total classes or class hours for a course. A student who fails to comply with the attendance requirement may be subject to withdrawal from the course, denied permission to sit for the final examination, or other reasonable penalty for non-compliance, which includes the lowering of the course grade.
A faculty member may adopt a more specific or stricter attendance policy provided that the policy and the penalty for a violation are announced in writing (Blackboard posting is acceptable) at the beginning of the course (and no later than the first week of classes). In any event, the Director of Registration and Enrollment shall initiate enforcement action against a student once the faculty member provides the Director with documentation of the studentís absences, a copy of the faculty memberís written notice informing the student of his or her attendance policy violation as well as the imposed penalty, and if applicable, a copy of the faculty memberís announcement of a more specific or stricter attendance policy.
A student may appeal the enforcement action to the Administrative Committee only on the grounds of actual compliance, inadequacy of notice, and unreasonableness of the penalty. The student may be allowed to continue attending classes pending the Committeeís decision unless the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs concludes that doing so would be disruptive to the class. No further penalties may be imposed based solely on additional student absences arising from the appeal process.
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