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Back to April Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 231 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS APRIL 2005

Academic Bill of Rights Gains More Sponsors
Alabama Student Senate Rebukes Faculty
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The "Academic Bill of Rights" to combat left-wing political bullying on campus has found receptive lawmakers in at least eleven state legislatures. Bills or resolutions have been introduced or are expected to be introduced this year in California, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Washington State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Michigan. The model bill, conceived by leftist-turned-conservative activist David Horowitz, is intended to reduce harassment of conservative students and professors in higher education.

A version was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003 and a similar bill passed the Georgia Senate in 2004. In Colorado, after a similar bill passed the House education committee in early 2004, four state university presidents stepped forward and agreed to ensure that their policies protect political diversity. (See Education Reporter, May 2004 and Dec. 2003 for background on the Academic Bill of Rights, and Dec. 2004 for more evidence of left-wing bias in universities.)

Despite making that pledge, the University of Colorado continues to suffer national embarrassment over its tenured ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill, who wrote an essay in 2002 comparing victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack to Nazis and has made fraudulent or unsubstantiated claims about U.S. government policy toward Indians and about his own (apparently non-existent) Indian ancestry. The university president, Betsy Hoffman, resigned in March under pressure over Churchill and an athletic recruiting scandal.

Horowitz's group Students for Academic Freedom is targeting some 20 states for legislative action on the bill. Student councils at at least six universities have passed resolutions supporting the Academic Bill of Rights. (Arizona Capitol Times, 2-7-05)

Students slam speech codes 
One manifestation of left-wing thought control at colleges is the prevalence of "speech codes" designed to punish speech deemed offensive to certain classes of people on campus. In a strong rebuke to the University of Alabama faculty, which recently passed a resolution calling for a speech code, the student senate in February unanimously passed a resolution condemning the concept of a speech code.

"Free speech is absolutely vital to the mission of any university," the student resolution states, and "speech codes have been used by other colleges and universities to silence dissenting speech, not merely so-called 'hate speech,' and to persecute those with unpopular opinions."

After calling on the administration and faculty "to refrain from adopting any form of speech code," the resolution urged them "to adopt policies that explicitly protect free speech for all students at the University of Alabama."


 
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