At Los Angeles Pacific University, those who learn together form the fabric of our Christ-centered university community. Shared values, mutual respect, and hospitality are cherished attributes that each member helps build and works hard to safeguard. We do not take this responsibility lightly and remain grateful to be part of the educational plurality of the great state of California. Faith integration, student care, service, diversity, and religious expression combine to form the essence of our mission-driven community.
Since the founding of APU in 1899, the university system has incorporated our religious beliefs into every aspect of university life. We are transparent about our God First approach to higher education as it reflects our mission-driven identity, including our commitment to diversity. Rigorous curriculum across academic disciplines explores topics infused by faith. In all interactions and discussion forums, students unpack God’s call upon their lives and witness His transformation. To uphold this distinction, LAPU employs faculty and staff from many denominations who share the Christian faith.
The precious freedom to express our religious tenets is recognized by the United States and California Constitutions. Other federal and state laws likewise support the opportunity for Los Angeles Pacific University and other religious higher education institutions to weave religious beliefs into all aspects of university life. For example, exemptions in Title IX (20 U.S.C. section 1681(a)(3)) and the California Equity in Higher Education Act (Cal. Ed. Code section 66271) support Los Angeles Pacific’s efforts to operate consistently with its religious tenets by maintaining faith-based standards of behaviors that all community members voluntarily agree to follow as a condition of living and learning in our community. These laws provide Los Angeles Pacific and other religious institutions with the discretion to thoughtfully make policies and build community expectations around our mission to advance the work of God in the world through academic excellence and to help students develop a Christian perspective on truth and life.
Statement of Academic Freedom
At Los Angeles Pacific University, we believe that all truth is God’s truth and that God has made it possible for humankind to access, discover, and understand truth. We also affirm that the knowledge of truth will always be incomplete and that people, including those with educational credentials, are fallible and may interpret data and ideas imperfectly.
Therefore, academic freedom from a Christ-centered perspective must be carried out with civility, mature judgment, and the awareness of the broad representation of Christian faith that exists within this institution. Accordingly, LAPU affirms its commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression in academic endeavors.
The university recognizes that academic freedom has historically been defined both by broadly accepted academic standards and by the mission and character of the institution in which it is practiced. LAPU seeks to maintain an academic community in which lecturers are free to engage in rigorous scholarly inquiry and expression within an intellectual context shaped by the evangelical Christian tradition. In addition to this freedom, LAPU seeks to pursue scholarly inquiry and expression in a way that extends and enriches the academic disciplines from the unique resources provided by the institution’s identity.
Thus, at LAPU, academic freedom is defined both by the commonly accepted standards of the academy and by those commitments articulated in the documents that are central to the university’s identity as a Christian university. These documents articulate the central commitments which shape the academic community, and thus the practice of academic freedom, at LAPU: a belief in God as the Creator of all things, in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, in the Holy Spirit as teacher and guide, in Scripture as God’s authoritative and infallible revelation, and in the Christian community as an expression and vehicle of God’s redemptive work in this world. The university follows these principles in its practice of academic freedom:
- Lecturers are entitled to the rights and privileges, and bear the obligations, of academic freedom in the performance of their duties. Specifically, lecturers are free to pursue truth and knowledge within their disciplines in the classroom, in their research and writings, and in other public statements in their field of professional competence. At all times lecturers should strive for accuracy, exercise appropriate restraint, and show respect for the opinions of others.
- Lecturers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Lecturers should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to the subject.
- While lecturers are members of the global community, as scholars and members of the LAPU community, lecturers should remain cognizant that the public will form perceptions of their profession and their institution by their utterances.
- In the practice of the academic vocation, complaints against lecturers may be generated. Lecturers shall be protected from any request to retract or modify their research, publication, or teaching merely because a complaint has been received. Only complaints alleging lecturers’ violations of professional standards of the discipline or of advocating positions incompatible with the central commitments of LAPU as a Christian university shall be considered, and then only when the evidence supporting the allegation is more substantial than rumor, inference, or hearsay.
- In the event that a lecturer believes his or her academic freedom has been unduly restricted, he or she may pursue resolution of this issue through the existing lecturer grievance procedure as articulated in the Academic Handbook.