Maine College Republicans Support Academic Bill of Rights at University of Southern Maine · 06 December 2005

Filed under: Maine, Press Coverage

By Nathaniel Walton--11/29/05

November 29, 2005
Dear Student Senate Members,

I am writing to make you aware of the Maine College Republicans' strong support of the University of Southern Maine College Republicans' efforts to secure the USM Student Senate's passage of an Academic Bill of Rights.

The Maine College Republicans is a state College Republican federation that boasts over 3,000 members and chapters on 24 college campuses from Fort Kent to Wells. The organization was named "Best State Federation in America" by the College Republican National Committee for its grassroots political activism during the 2004 election, receives the support of many of Maine's leading Republicans, and consistently earns major media stories for its grassroots as well as campus activism.

For the past eight months, the Maine College Republicans have led the fight to promote academic freedom and intellectual pluralism on Maine's college campuses. This effort began in March 2005 when 13 College Republican leaders testified in Augusta in favor of LD 1194, "An Academic Bill of Rights." These courageous students delivered stirring testimony of the harrowing experiences of ideological discrimination they endured on various college campuses across the state. LD 1194 ultimately failed on a party-line vote, yet the Maine College Republicans have continued the fight for academic freedom on Maine's college campuses.

In May 2005, the Bates College student government unanimously endorsed the principles of Students for Academic Freedom's Academic Bill of Rights. Students for Academic

Freedom is a nationwide organization that promotes intellectual pluralism on college campuses. It was founded by renowned author David Horowitz. The Bates Academic Bill of Rights received a great deal of media attention. Maine College Republican leaders, recognizing the importance of raising awareness on academic freedom issues, invited Horowitz to lecture at the University of Maine and Bates College in September 2005. His stirring lectures received a remarkable amount of major press coverage, and motivated College Republicans across Maine, including ones at USM, to see through the adoption of the principles of the Academic Bill of Rights on their campus.

The USM College Republicans' efforts are a genuine attempt at remedying the problem of ideological hegemony commonplace on the USM campus as well as college campuses across the state. Like the students who testified in Augusta last spring, these students will readily tell you of the harrowing classroom experiences they have endured because they don't adhere to the liberal political status quo on campus. The college/university should be a marketplace of ideas, not a place for certain ideologues' indoctrination of young minds.

I strongly encourage you to consider the courageous efforts of these students with the utmost seriousness and respect. They have the steadfast support of the Maine College Republicans in doing so.

Sincerely,

Nathaniel Y. Walton
Chairman, Maine College Republicans