Students for Academic Freedom Spurs Legislation in 20 States · 03 March 2005

Among the states currently considering legislation based on the Academic Bill of Rights are California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana, Washington, Florida, Maryland, and Tennessee. Legislators in Missouri, Georgia, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Pennslvania are planning to introduce legislation later this year and legislators in an additional seven states are also considering introducing legislation based on the Academic Bill of Rights. A full list of states currently considering legislation can be found here.


In the national arena, United States Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) has introduced the Academic Bill of Rights as House Concurrent Resolution 318, which calls for colleges and universities to voluntarily end discrimination in hiring practices based on political or religious beliefs and to promote intellectual diversity on campus. The Resolution is currently in committee and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has agreed to sponsor similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.

As you may recall from last Spring, the Academic Bill of Rights has already achieved legislative success in two states, Georgia and Colorado. In Colorado, a statutory bill based on the Academic Bill of Rights passed that state's House Education Committee and was well on its way to becoming law when the presidents of Colorado's major public universities agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to institute the key principles of the Academic Bill of Rights in their respective educational institutions in exchange for the bill being withdrawn. And in Georgia, the state senate passed a resolution based on the Academic Bill of Rights by a vote of 41-5 last spring. We said at the time that this was only the beginning, and the incredibly flurry of activity in state legislatures over the past few weeks proves this to indeed have been the case.

It is important to note, that our primary objective as an organization has never been to pass legislation. We have said from the start of this campaign that we would prefer that colleges and universities individually adopt the principles of the Academic Bill of Rights. However, University administrators have refused to acknowledge that partisan teaching and abuse of students for their political and religious beliefs is a pressing issue on their campuses. When public tax monies are being used for partisan indoctrination in our nation's colleges, state legislators have an obligation to step in and curb these abuses, and we are encouraged that so many of them have taken up the fight for academic freedom on their state campuses.

Perhaps our biggest battleground over the next few months will be in the state of Ohio, where the local chapters of the American Association of University Professors and the American Civil Liberties Union have already publicly denounced our bill on false pretenses and sent out an email to their members to come to the capitol to protest our hearings on the bill on Tuesday, March 8. We have responded to these allegations and you can read the latest on our battle in Ohio on our Ohio Actions page or catch up on the latest in other states on our main Actions page .

We are highly encouraged by the surge in state legislation on the Academic Bill of Rights, but he cannot stop here and rest on our laurels. These state legislators will need help from our student chapters across the nation in bringing forward examples of partisan teaching and classroom indoctrination. We need to show the true scope of the problem in order to convince the public and university officials to take it seriously.

If you are a student who has been abused for your political or religious views on campus, please email me about your experience at sara@studentsforacademicfreedom.org or submit a report to our online complaint site. Be sure to let us know if you are willing to let us pass on this complaint to the legislators in your state who are working to enact an Academic Bill of Rights. Also, for more information on starting a chapter on your campus, please contact me at Sara@studentsforacademicfreedom.org or at 202-393-0123.

Yours in Freedom,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom