673 university professors sign letter opposing courses on America’s founding, Constitution

Hundreds of professors at the University of North Carolina signed a public letter Tuesday opposing legislation that would require university students to take courses on America’s government and founding documents. The 673 UNC Chapel Hill professors revealed the public letter Tuesday, arguing the new courses and another bill in the North Carolina House of Representatives would constitute an infringement on the university’s “academic freedom.” The first piece of legislation, House Bill 96, would require students to take a 3 credit-hour course covering America’s founding and history. Required reading for the course would include the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, at least five essays from the Federalist Papers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Gettysburg Address. The professors argue the legislation “violates core principles of academic freedom” and “substitutes ideological force-feeding for the intellectual expertise of faculty.” UNC-CHAPEL HILL DELETES FELLOWSHIP CRITERIA EXCLUDING WHITE PEOPLE AFTER CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT The second bill, H.B. 715, would eliminate tenure at UNC and its affiliated campuses, establish minimum class sizes and require colleges to report “all non-instructional research performed by higher education personnel at the institution.” UNC-CHAPEL HILL DELETES FELLOWSHIP CRITERIA EXCLUDING WHITE PEOPLE AFTER CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT The 673 professors decry both bills as an attack on “expertise,” arguing the American government courses constitute little more than indoctrination. “Our leaders continue to disregard campus autonomy, attack the expertise and independence of world-class faculty, and seek to force students’ educations into pre-approved ideological containers,” the letter reads. “We must protect the principles of academic freedom and shared governance which have long made UNC a leader in public education.” “If enacted, we believe that these measures will further damage the reputation of UNC and the state of North Carolina and will likely bring critical scrutiny from accrediting agencies that know undue interference in university affairs when they see it,” the letter continues. H.B. 96 passed through the North Carolina House of Representatives in March and is now making its way through the state Senate.
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