A mostly empty campus with welcome back and COVID-19-19 protocol signs is seen at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on August 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The school halted in-person classes and reverted back to online courses after a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past week. (Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)
OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 4:40 PM – Wednesday, April 26, 2023
A public declaration opposing proposed legislation that would require university students to take classes on the nation’s governance and founding documents was signed by hundreds of University of North Carolina (UNC) professors on Tuesday.
The public letter was revealed by 673 UNC Chapel Hill professors and claimed that the additional courses and a different measure in the North Carolina House of Representatives would “violate fundamental academic freedom principles” and “replace faculty intellectual expertise with ideological force-feeding.”
According to House Bill 96, students are mandated to enroll in a 3-credit course on the origins and history of the United States. The U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, at least five Federalist Papers articles, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, and the Gettysburg Address are among the texts that must be studied for the course.
Under H.B. 715, tenure would be abolished at UNC and its associated institutions, minimum class sizes would be set, and the university would be required to disclose “all non-instructional research performed by higher education personnel at the institution.”
The professors denounced both legislations as an attack on “expertise,” arguing that 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 said. “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.”
In March, H.B. 96 had passed through the North Carolina House of Representatives. The bill now makes its way to the Senate for approval.
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