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24 1997



Universities Generally

Chapter I

Objects and functions

Objects of university.

12. —The objects of a university shall include—

(a) to advance knowledge through teaching, scholarly research and scientific investigation,

(b) to promote learning in its student body and in society generally,

(c) to promote the cultural and social life of society, while fostering and respecting the diversity of the university's traditions,

(d) to foster a capacity for independent critical thinking amongst its students,

(e) to promote the official languages of the State, with special regard to the preservation, promotion and use of the Irish language and the preservation and promotion of the distinctive cultures of Ireland,

(f) to support and contribute to the realisation of national economic and social development,

(g) to educate, train and retrain higher level professional, technical and managerial personnel,

(h) to promote the highest standards in, and quality of, teaching and research,

(i) to disseminate the outcomes of its research in the general community,

(j) to facilitate lifelong learning through the provision of adult and continuing education, and

(k) to promote gender balance and equality of opportunity among students and employees of the university.

Functions of university.

13. —(1) The functions of a university are to do all things necessary or expedient in accordance with this Act and its charter, if any, to further the objects and development of the university.

(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a university—

(a) shall provide courses of study, conduct examinations and award degrees and other qualifications,

(b) shall promote and facilitate research,

(c) may establish by incorporation in the State or elsewhere, or participate in the establishment of, such trading, research or other corporations as it thinks fit for the purpose of promoting or assisting, or in connection with the functions of, the university,

(d) may collaborate with educational, business, professional, trade union, Irish language, cultural, artistic, community and other interests, both inside and outside the State, to further the objects of the university,

(e) shall maintain, manage and administer, and may dispose of and invest, the property, money, assets and rights of the university,

(f) may collaborate with graduates, convocations of graduates and with associations representing graduates of the university both inside and outside the State,

(g) may purchase or otherwise acquire, hold and dispose of land or other property, and

(h) may accept gifts of money, land or other property on the trusts and conditions, if any, not in conflict with this Act, specified by the donor.

Academic freedom.

14. —(1) A university, in performing its functions shall—

(a) have the right and responsibility to preserve and promote the traditional principles of academic freedom in the conduct of its internal and external affairs, and

(b) be entitled to regulate its affairs in accordance with its independent ethos and traditions and the traditional principles of academic freedom, and in doing so it shall have regard to—

(i) the promotion and preservation of equality of opportunity and access,

(ii) the effective and efficient use of resources, and

(iii) its obligations as to public accountability,

and if, in the interpretation of this Act, there is a doubt regarding the meaning of any provision, a construction that would promote that ethos and those traditions and principles shall be preferred to a construction that would not so promote.

(2) A member of the academic staff of a university shall have the freedom, within the law, in his or her teaching, research and any other activities either in or outside the university, to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state controversial or unpopular opinions and shall not be disadvantaged, or subject to less favourable treatment by the university, for the exercise of that freedom.