Amherst College does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs and activities on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex or gender (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity), age, disability, genetic information, military service, or any other characteristic or class protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. Amherst College complies with all state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Inquiries should be addressed to the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Amherst College, P.O. Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002-5000.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Amherst College will make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to enable such person to perform essential job functions and/or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment, so long as such accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the college. To be protected by the ADA, an employee must have a “disability,” as defined below, and be qualified to perform the essential functions of the position with or without a reasonable accommodation by Amherst College. A disability is defined under the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
A disability also includes having a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, and standing. Faculty members may request a reasonable accommodation by contacting the Office of Human Resources.
Institutions of higher learning dedicate themselves to a range of goals: the pursuit of truth and knowledge, the refinement and transmission of intellectual skills, the articulation of values, the creation of works of artistic merit, and the critical examination of received wisdom. The promotion of these goals requires unstinting dedication to academic and expressive freedom. Such freedom protects the right of members of the academic community to speak, write, curate, and create without obstruction, disruption, or the fear of institutional censure, censorship, or retaliation.
This strong commitment to the freedom of inquiry lies at the heart of Amherst College’s mission to create a home in which the liberal arts may flourish. As a small residential liberal arts college that prides itself on the ability, curiosity, and diversity of its students, Amherst seeks to create a respectful environment in which members of its community feel emboldened to pursue their intellectual and creative passions. At times, the desire to foster a climate of mutual respect may test the college’s duty to protect and promote the unfettered exchange of ideas. On such occasions, the college’s obligations remain clear. The liberal arts cannot thrive absent the freedom to espouse and debate ideas that are unpopular, controversial, discomfiting—and even seemingly wrongheaded or offensive. Members of an academic community may and, indeed, should challenge and oppose ideas they find offensive and loathsome. Yet the response to disagreeable and even insulting ideas must not contravene the commitment to expressive freedom that enables the college to thrive as a space of liberal inquiry.
Even the most vigorous defense of intellectual and creative freedom knows limits. The college may properly restrict speech that, for example, is defamatory, harassing, invades a protected right to privacy or confidentiality, constitutes incitement to imminent violence, or otherwise violates the law. It may place reasonable limitations on the time, place, and manner of expression, and may restrict speech that directly interferes with core instructional and administrative functions of the college. But these restrictions and limitations must be understood as narrow exceptions to the college’s overriding commitment to robust open inquiry (voted by the faculty, May 3, 2016).
Amherst College subscribes fully to the AAUP statements of principles on academic freedom published in 1940, and assumes that faculty members know their rights and their responsibilities as members of the academic profession.
Amherst College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the New England Association indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one that has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation. Accreditation by the New England Association is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution. Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by the New England Association should be directed to the dean of the faculty. Individuals may also contact the association at:
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, Massachusetts 01803