American Jewish Congress Supports Academic Bill of Rights in California · 06 July 2005

Filed under: Actions, California


Dear Members of the American Jewish Congress,

We have an opportunity to change the way the college and university campuses treat students, both from the right, left and center. Senator Bill Morrow has reintroduced HB5 which is a new front for the war of freedom, academic freedom. This bill embodies American Principles of learning, free inquiry, free speech, within the academic community, and indispensable to the pursuit of truth. It helps promote intellectual integrity, and the right to critically think.

The basics of the bill are:

1. Students shall be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the areas studies, not on the basis on their political views.

2. Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences shall respect the broad pursuit of truth by providing dissenting sources and viewpoints and welcoming a diversity of approaches.

3. Faculty shall expose students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses and not use the courses as platforms for the purpose of ideological, religious, or anti religious indoctrination.

4. Selection of visiting speakers, allocation of speaker program funds and related activities shall observe the principles of academic freedom and intellectual pluralism.

5. Faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in their disciplines and not on the basis of their personal political or religious beliefs.

6. Faculty shall not be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of their personal political or religious beliefs. Academic institutions and professional societies shall maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions inside or outside their fields of inquiry.

We need to protect our students from hostile learning environments, sexual harassment, AND intellectual harassment. Schools, colleges and universities should be "safe houses" where students can feel comfortable opening their minds, ears, mouths in pursuit of a full education. They should be taught HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

Please click on the name of your state senator, talk to them, and if you have any friends, or business in their districts, please let them know that this is a bill they should vote Yea on in September. Please forward this to your lists, and together, we can will to get this bill voted in our favor.

Gary Ratner, Executive Director, American Jewish Congress
Allyson Rowen Taylor Associate Director.