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Retention of Challenged Materials Policy

It is the policy of the West Virginia University Libraries (“WVU Libraries”) that books, journal articles or other channels of scholarly communication be acquired as part of the WVU Libraries' collections. When an item or collection is added to the WVU Libraries’ permanent holdings, the intention is to retain it and to make it discoverable and available to users as openly as possible. Whether in hard copy or digital format, material will not subsequently be withdrawn based on allegations of false, misleading, pejorative, defamatory or potentially harmful information. Barring exceptional legal or ethical circumstances, any requests to remove items will be declined.

Errata sheets and corrigenda, issued by the publisher and included with the text or received shortly thereafter will be tipped into the work. Subsequent corrections, reviews or letters of caution, whether issued by the author, publisher or third party will not be added to the text nor referenced in the cataloging record.

The WVU Libraries understand that authors may, intentionally or inadvertently, misstate facts, reach erroneous conclusions or make claims that may, in fact or in perception, be hurtful to individuals or lead future researchers astray. It is not the task of the WVU Libraries to verify or validate the contents of what it acquires, but it is to make research available for review, rebuttal, substantiation, support or further inquiry. Academic Freedom is required and protected by the West Virginia University Board of Governors Rule Faculty Rule 4.1. “Academic freedom at the University is necessary to enable the institution to perform its societal obligation as established by the West Virginia Legislature.” (Rule 4.1: Section 2: Academic Freedom: Part 2.1) It is the position of the WVU Libraries that civil, rigorous academic debate/discussion and the exchange of ideas and viewpoints are the essence of what is protected as academic freedom and that the WVU Libraries have no role mediating these interchanges. Our policy is that materials in the WVU Libraries stand as published.

Ultimate responsibility for the decision on whether to return, destroy, or delete collection materials rests with the Dean of Libraries who works in consultation with the WVU Libraries’ Collection Advisory Committee.

Those persons wishing to challenge a resource in the WVU Libraries will be asked to complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources using the form below. The completed form will be submitted to the Dean of Libraries; the Dean will acknowledge receipt of the form via letter. The Request will then be considered by the Collections Advisory Committee of the WVU Libraries, with the assistance of the librarian responsible for collection development in the subject area of the resource. The recommendation(s) of the Collections Advisory Committee will be sent to the Dean of Libraries, who will make the final decision. The person making the challenge will be notified in writing by the Dean of Libraries of that decision and any action to  be taken. Adapted with permission from the Northwestern University Libraries’ Retention of Challenged Materials Policy (2013) and the Clemson University Libraries’ Challenged Materials Policy .

Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form

Reviewed by Office of Legal Counsel Approved by krd 6/7/22

Approved by Library Faculty Assembly 6/14/2022

Approved by WVU Faculty Senate Library Committee 12/20/2022